about a dream: 2009

Thursday, December 31, 2009

there's time to squeeze in one last post this decade

i sorta feel like i should do some kind of year (or decade) in review post since that's what's filling the news today, but meh, too much effort. it's 10:30 and i just now got maggie to sleep (poor kid still has a stuffy nose and i think not being able to nurse to sleep threw her off. finally i gave her some tylenol and propped us both up with pillows to nurse in an elevated position. she konked out and is sleeping still propped on the pillows. cross your fingers for me!). so just a regular old post instead.

not much happened today, because of maggie's cold we mostly stayed in. nick took nina out to play in the snow (we got 2 or 3 inches today) and mom and i took the girls to the grocery store, but that was it. a rather quiet new year's eve. tomorrow is our new year's day party, that should be fun, a little overrun with kids maybe, but fun. i'll update tomorrow if i'm not too tired, saturday if i am.

happy new year! here's to much more cuteness in 2010!

the skirt i made nina

i made it from an old t-shirt

i wanted to hem it but she wants it long

i think i want one!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

if it tastes good, it's gotta be...

nick reminded me of this one. while we were visiting paul and sarah, sarah gave the kids frozen yogurt tubes. maggie loved hers. heath asked maggie, "maggie, what is that that you have?" and maggie looked around at everyone, looked at her fro-yo, and announced "meat."

nick was so proud! it's the austrian in her. she also calls her favorite breakfast cereal (strawberry frosted miniwheats) "meat." i think everything she likes is meat.

Monday, December 28, 2009

back to catching up: christmas eve

christmas eve was another great day. we hung out together in the morning, played with chester, good family time. erik and isabelle took nina to the store with them, which she loved. she's such a big girl!

later, erik, isabelle, nick, and i cooked a yummy seafood newburg lasagna. well, erik and i did the lasagna, isabelle did the salad and grated the chees, and nick de-tailed the shrimp. boy it was good! then the 4 of us took the girls to church while mom and dad stayed behind to get dinner in the over. maggie was a bit feistier than usual but managed to make it through mass. by the skin of her teeth! when we went up for communion, she saw the nativity scene set up on the right side of the church. we stopped there and looked at it, she loved that there was a horse (actually i think it was a donkey but i didn't say anything). 'perfect,' i thought to myself. 'there are chairs here, we'll ride out the last few minutes looking at the nativity scene.' but THEN she noticed that there was a christmas tree on the altar. she tried to make a run for it. i grabbed her. the priest was this close to the closing prayer. maggie was about to scream. tense! then he said "go now in peace" and maggie made her break. father laughed and said "good timing." i asked if we could stand by the tree and he said sure. whew, it was definitely a close call. good thing she's so darn cute!

after dinner, the girls got to open one present (it's a family tradition). i had picked out their robes as the present so that they could wear them on christmas morning. and they loved them. "in the robe!!!!" said maggie. they wear them all the time!
yesterday we saw paul, sarah, and their son connor. it was great fun, and we left late, hoping that the girls would sleep in the car on the way home. and they did, once we hit edgecomb... of course. so an hour with everyone awake but maggie on the edge of flipping out, 10 minutes of kids sleeping peacefully in the back. yup, that's our girls! poor nina was exhausted too, maggie was the one keeping her awake.

so, when we got home, i managed to put maggie down in her crib without waking her up, but nina did wake up. very very tired still, she brushed her teeth and got into her jammies, and i laid down with her until she fell asleep.

after a few minutes of lying there in bed (and after saying her dream prayers. she said, "i wish i would dream that i could fly." and then a few minutes later changed her mind and said, "i wish i would dream that i'm a mermaid."), my tummy made a noise. here's how the exchange went down:

me: "my stomach growled."
nina: "no, it was my stomach."
me: "is your tummy hungry for a snack now, or for pancakes in the morning?"
nina: "for pancakes in the morning."
me: "ok, i'll make them in the morning."
nina: "actually, my stomach wasn't growling, it was snoring."

haha! what a funny kid she is!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

uploading videos problems...

i was trying to upload videos of the kids, but then i realized they're way too big to upload, so so much for that. they're even too big for you tube! blech! they're the videos we're taking using the camera in the laptop, and i guess they just record really big. i'll go back to using the camera i guess... but the kids like that they can see themselves while we record. when we use the camera, maggie just keeps wanting to see herself on the little screen, and then i can't record her. difficult, difficult...

well, it was a merry christmas! you can tell we're having a lot of fun when i'm not updating the blog, too busy and too tired at the end of the day to write anything. i'll try to do a bunch of posts catching up on the past week, but sometimes those peter out and i don't finish.

so, today: today we went to aunt maria and uncle lee's for christmas II. it was great fun! joseph and jessica were both there, plus a friend of jessica's (boyfriend? you don't have to answer jessica, but great grandma's not reading, so you can say whatever you want. :-)
nina fell asleep on the way home in spite of the fact that maggie was screaming, so we went to mom and dad's afterwards to get out some of that energy she stored up with her little nap. even then, she didn't fall asleep until 10 tonight. maggie was out at 9:15.

yesterday: christmas. we opened presents at the house first thing in the morning, with anne and fritz present by webcam. how cool was that! they're thousands of miles away but were with us on christmas morning. it was like some kind of high-speed internet commercial. we should have filmed it all and sold the footage to verizon or something. next time!
after opening presents here, we moved over to mom and dad's and opened presents there. it was mayhem! the girls loved their presents. big ticket items were the wagon, easel, and puppet theater. they love them! i've already been treated to a host of shows at the puppet theater (here's how one usually goes: a princess starts to tell her story in an unnaturally high, squeaky voice. maggie comes out from behind the theater with a puppet to show me. she holds it up, tells me what it is, and then runs back behind the theater. meanwhile, nina's princess meets an animal, which ends up on her head. then the animal jumps off the stage. maggie runs out with another puppet or animal (the animals have all joined the theater) to show me, tells me what it is, and runs back. more animals on the stage with the princess. "all of a sudden," says the narrator (nina), "a shark comes by!". maggie pokes her head through the curtains, holds out a puppet and says "hi!", and the show ends with a few more animals jumping from the stage. it's hysterical!!)

gosh, that was a long tangent, where was i?.... oh, christmas day. there was also a lot of playing with the princess figurines, which are another big hit, and of course the girls' best friend chester.

wow all of a sudden it's almost 11:00! more later!

christmas greetings

Friday, December 25, 2009

Monday, December 21, 2009

just a quick check-in

things are good here. girls are happy and healthy. had a nice visit with paul and connor today, the kids had a blast together. maggie wasn't thrilled to be sharing her toys with connor (aged 21 months) at first, but about half-way through the visit she warmed up to him and they had fun. nina was perfect, of course, showing connor toys he might like and doting on him.

the weekend was good too, we only got three inches of snow though! the rest of the eastern seaboard gets the storm of the decade, and we get 3 measly inches. still, the kids got out in it for a bit on sunday and it looks pretty, so that's something. i think we're going to get more this week too??

presents are starting to get wrapped. we'll have to do a big push to wrap the girls' gifts soon, but not tonight, i'm pooped!

oh, one cute thing: in the morning, i usually put on my robe and wrap maggie in it too. she loves it. well this morning i slept in a bit and she went downstairs with nick and nina. when i finally came down, she ran up to me and yelled "in the wobe! in the wobe!" (wobe = robe, she's still working on those r's). how cute!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

we stopped to see the horses on tuesday

you know the horses on dover rd? well, we saw charlie and hattie on courjon road on tuesday, so we stopped in to visit with them and say hi to the horses. maggie loved it! and then, one of the horses peed! she was so excited! "neigh poo-poo!" she said. and she's been talking about it ever since. 10 times a day at least. more like 25. "neigh poo-poo! neigh poo-poo!" then she laughs. it was the funniest thing she's ever seen.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

some more potty success!

today i really embraced the fact that maggie is a fiercely independent little girl who wants no help with anything. so instead of telling her to tell me when she has to go potty so i can take her, like i did with nina, i put her little potty on the floor and told her that when she has to go, she should pull her pants down and just go by herself. all by herself. just her.

and she did!

within an hour, she did it! she sat down on that potty when she had to go and peed! she did forget to pull her pants down that first time, but that's ok.

she used the potty all day today! if she hadn't gone in a while, i would remind her that the potty was there for her to use by herself when she was ready, and often she did go at the reminder. but reminding her is no big deal; heck, i still remind nina to go.

we mostly stayed in today, close to that potty. it's supposed to be super cold tomorrow and the next day too, so we'll probably stay in for the most part again. keep your fingers crossed that this is it!

yay maggie!

Monday, December 14, 2009

how about some pictures?

we had some snow last week and boy was that fuN!

nanta claus is coming to town...

maggie says nanta for santa and it is just too cute. too cute! she LOVES santa too. every time he pops up on a commercial, or even if there's just a tiny little santa somewhere on an ad or something, she points it out and gets excited. nanta! nanta!

what are some other cute things?... oh, grandpa took his usual heaping plate of food at dinner tonight and nina took a look at it and asked, "are you going to eat all that food?" dad says yes he was. "because if you don't," nina said, "it's a poor choice." hee hee! she's such a funny kid.

nina is still very fearful of bad people. a few days ago she made a sign for our wall: "no bad strangers." she even put a line through it (like the signs with a circle and a line through it. she really likes those kinds of signs).

have i posted about maggie and letters? she knows all of the letters, she has for at least a month. she drilled me on them until she got them all; i'd be in the kitchen, cooking dinner or loading the dishwasher, and she'd come up to me with one of the refrigerator magnet letters and say "this? this?" then i'd tell her, she'd repeat it, and go back to the refrigerator for a new one. now she loves to point out letters wherever we are.

what else? nina's current obsessions (besides bad people) are that the toilet will break if she flushes more than 1 square of toilet paper, that pants cannot be worn after peeing because of drips, and that food might get stuck in her throat. fortunately, she let me shampoo her hair today happily. she wanted me to curl it like wendy from peter pan, and it didn't work because her hair was too dirty (it had been a month since the last shampoo). so she was all for one. she suggested we do it in the kitchen sink (her lying down on teh counter with a towel under her neck so it was kind of like at the hair salon). she kept a towel over her face to keep the spray off of her, and it went great! she was happy the whole time. maybe another breakthrough here!

finally, poor maggie fell today in the kitchen and got a bloody nose and fat lip. poor little kid. nina was really worried but didn't cry (usually she does if maggie gets hurt). we were so proud of her for being so big. later she told mom about what happened and said, "i really keeped it together!"

Friday, December 11, 2009

when is oma coming to visit?

nina is asking every day. aww!! i tell her soon, and that we'll go back to austria to visit soon too. we're not sure when though. this spring? if we wait until fall, we have kindergarten to contend with! well, we'll figure it out...

and maggie cannot get enough of oma and opa in the elf yourself video! she points to the laptop when it's open and says "oma? opa?". when i put it on she says "oma! opa!" the whole time. it's too cute!!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

a video (i hope!)

finally! it has worked!! here is a video of the girls doing some ballet.

santa arrived AGAIN!

wow, that santa is a busy guy. last saturday he arrived at the common by firetruck, and today it was the harbor by boat (on the novelty). maggie was even more excited than nina! we had started the day by popping in to the historical society for some treats and to see if they have a map that nick and i are looking for (they didn't, but the southport historical society might have it). then it was on to the opera house for the festival of trees, which was pretty crowded and lacked free goodies, so we didn't stay long. from there we went to the library to make a craft and (surprise, surprise) avail ourselves of the treats. maggie got sick of waiting at the library and starting saying "santa! santa!", so off to the whale park we went. finally he arrived with mrs. claus and a whole troop of elves. the girls were so happy! THEN, if you can believe it, we even got a ride on a big trolly pulled by two horses ("big neigh!" said maggie). what an amazingly fun day. there are even pictures this time, i'll see if i can get them up tonight.

i also have videos to put up, and really, really have got to get nina on video doing the walking hula hoop, the running hula hoop, the galloping hula hoop, and the jumping hula hoop. she is too funny!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

fun day at the YMCA

swimming and then a few laps around the track. the girls had a blast, and nina was swimming with just one bubble. i'm so proud of her! maggie floated by herself for a few seconds with three bubbles, and then said "i'm a fish! i'm a fish!"

oh, and last night, before nina fell asleep, she wished she would dream she lived in a house made of bubblegum.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

a KC recap

sorry i didn't post anything at all while we were in KC, nick was working a lot and it was busy, busy, busy (and fast, fast, fast!). wyatt is adorable!! such a cute, good little guy. nina just loved holding him, and maggie loved pointing at him and saying "baby!" then pointing at vanessa and saying "mama!". maggie also loved the boppy, i wonder if she misses ours? i guess i should drag it out of the basement and see!

one day we went into KC proper and saw the model train exhibit at the train station, plus some gingerbread houses at... where were those? i don't remember.

all in all, a great trip. though the girls were not too happy when i held wyatt. nina would pout and glare, and maggie would whine. one time nina asked, "but we're not taking him home, right?". actually, it was more of a command. :-)

potty training maggie

this is not going as easily as i had hoped. maggie started sitting on the potty at 8 months. for a few weeks, she peed on it after naps; it seemed like we were off to a roaring start. then, she stopped using it. months passed, i'd put her on occasionally, no pressure, but she never went. then, at about 11 months, she started peeing after naps again. she even pooped on the potty on her first birthday!

slowly, she progressed to peeing a lot on the potty. for a few months, she has done 80% of her pees in the potty (no more poops though). which is wonderful, think of all the diapers we're keeping out of landfills. at home, she wears cloth trainers during the day, so we're using even fewer disposables. i feel good and green.

however, she rarely tells me when she has to go. sometimes she whispers "poo-poo... poo-poo" but makes no attempt to make sure i hear. if i do, good for me. if not, well, tough luck momma.

i was wondering if leaving a potty out for her to use herself (she has an indpendant streak a mile wide, after all) would be better. it's not like maggie to want to ask me for help getting to the potty, you know? she won't let me help her with anything; in fact, she resents help and sometimes has a tantrum if you help her do something that she wants to do on her own.

well, the potty out quickly proved to be a bit of a success. she said "little potty?" when she had to go, but i still had to help her get her pants down. then, in the tub last night, she told me "poo-poo" and tried to get out of the tub. i was cleaning the potty, so i told her she had to wait. she sat back down, got up when i was done cleaning, and then i put her on the potty and she went. that's right, the little stinker is PERFECTLY capable of telling me and holding it when it's her bath water that's about to be peed in. but ask her to keep it off my floor, and not worth it.

so far today she has peed on the ground twice, so it looks like our gains have not carried over. ah well, think of all the diapers i'm keeping out of landfills...

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

sweet dreams

last night as nina was falling asleep she said quietly to herself:
"i wish i'd have a dream about bubblegum. (pause)
"i wish i'd have a dream that i'm a princess with bubblegum."

there you go, inside the mind of a 4 year old girl!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

the girls' christmas lists

i can't believe christmas is just around the corner already! here is what the girls have their eyes on this year:

high-heeled dress-up shoes (in her size, not my old castoffs)
a princess dress-up necklace (one of those plastic jewelery sets would be perfect since the girls sometimes fight over the one pair of clip-on earrings that we have)
a ken doll, preferably a prince
anything disney princess or tinkerbell
slippers (size 12 or 13)
sports equipment (t-ball, soccer ball, things like that)

anything winnie the pooh
anything princess
slippers (size 7)
anything with letters or numbers

and for either one
anything crafty

nina is currently just going into a size 5 and maggie is a 2T or 3T (pretty much a 3T for everyting except pants, 3T are still a bit too long, but 2T probably won't fit for too much longer)

that's all i can think of!

Monday, November 23, 2009

goin' to kansas city

kansas city, here we come!

we'll be on our way in about an hour. the girls are so excited that they're running around in circles. should be a fun flight!

Friday, November 20, 2009

i'll type this on commercial breaks...

man i love the law and order theme song!

you all probably know that nina doesn't like to go to sleep. she stalls, says she's not tired, asks for another snack, another drink, another story... standard kid stuff. but she also talks a lot about how she doesn't like to go to sleep, and how she can't wait until it's morning. lately, she has been asking us whether, when she has a dream, her body stays in bed or if it leaves. we had thought that dreams might have been part of why she doesn't like to sleep, but she rarely talks about having bad dreams, so we weren't sure. nick and i keep explaining that dreams are just her imagination (nick tells her they are her brain telling her a story while she's asleep to keep her entertained. interesting explanation nick). i'm not sure she totally believes it, because she keeps asking over and over again. poor kid, i hope her dreams are just unnerving and not scary.

another busy day

what a day! nick went to best buy last night and bought a new laptop. he's been wanting to for a while, and then on tuesday the cord to plug the old laptop in broke. i got a new one, but nick was already determined. he went to best buy after the kids were in bed last night and bought this spiffy, shiny new laptop. it's a gateway. so far, so good! i like that all of the keys work properly. on the old laptop, you had to strike the N and the D really hard. and the spacebar. it was getting to be quite a pain.

so, the day had a busy start with all of us oohing and aahing over the new laptop. then eve called and asked if we wanted to go to a new indoor playground in warren, since it was raining. we did! it was great. indoor bouncies, riding toys, a playset with a slide, a toddler area, a kitchen, an amazing amount of dress-up clothes, it goes on and on but i'm getting bored of listing thigns and i'm sure you're getting the idea. wow i even type faster on the new laptop!

the girls had a great but exhausting time. maggie loved that she didn't have to get out of the bouncies (remember the damariscotta pumpkin festival? i had to go into the inflatable pumpkin and drag her out. it was a scene).

THEN we went to return our books to the library and get some new ones, then on to the grocery store for some grub for dinner. now it's 8 on friday, the kids are in bed, adn we're about to watch law and order. what a great day!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

a quick nina funny too

nina is still obsessed with the princess thing. she has pointed out that nick must be my prince, since we're married. when speaking to me about him, she refers to him as "your prince." well, tonight nina wanted one more snack before bed, and nick was getting impatient. then she asked for a glass of water too, and nick was annoyed and said no. nina turned to me and said, "mean! your prince is mean!" with this big smile on her face. it was hysterical.

serial posting

there's so much to catch up on!

erik and isabelle were here this weekend. and chester. we all had a wonderful time, and maggie really misses chester and isabelle. she keeps saying "chester home?" "belle home?" note that she does not mention erik. she wont or can't say his name, instead referring to him all weekend as "this." funny kid!!

margarete has topped herself

remember how i was all flabbergasted that maggie was climbing up onto the arms of the couches and jumping onto the cushions? i should have been happy then, because she found an even more dangerous trick. she stood on the arms and jumped backwards onto the cushions. gah, i guess i should be happy she's still jumping onto the cushions! she also stood on the back of the couch and jumped backwards onto the cushions. oy vey.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

nina destroyed me in wii bowling

we hadn't played in a while because we were out of batteries. well, i haven't gotten any better in the last few months but nina sure has! she bowled almost all strikes and spares. she's a prodigy!!

more on oma's visit...

so let's see, on wednesday we pretty much just hung out at the house. the weather was kind of icky if i remember correctly.

thursday, nick and i had to go to the bank. we decided to go without the kids and leave the grandmas in charge! i don't know what happened while we were gone, but the kids were happy and healthy when we got home, so good job grandmas. A+! on thursday, nina also went to the first rehearsal for the polar express play that the library is putting on at the railway village in december. there were only a few kids there, but that was good for nina, because it was her first introduction to acting and she thought the idea was a little weird. i think she's really going to like it though, so hopefully she is willing to stick with it. rehearsals will start next week, i guess we'll see!

on friday went to story hour with oma, and on friday night nick and i took the girls to the Y for some family swim. the girls love to swim, and it tuckers them out, which makes bedtime a breeze.

saturday we all went down to ocean point to throw rocks into the water, and on sunday, oma had to leave. it was a short visit, but fun!

margarete has a new trick

you know how in the living room we have the two couches at a 90 degree angle to each other? well, today maggie started climbing up on the loveseat, standing on the arm of the loveseat, making her way onto the adjacent arm of the couch, standing up on that, and then jumping from that arm onto the cushions. she's not even 18 months old!! this is insane!

how do you childproof a couch? i don't know. luckily, nina pulled all the cushions off the couch into a big pile on the floor, and maggie forgot all about her launch spot. hopefully she won't remember tomorrow, or else i'm in trouble.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

oma's arrival

i don't remember what we did on monday, so i'll skip straight to the big day--tuesday! nick went to portland to pick up oma at 5, and they got in at around 6:30. i had taken the girls swimming at the Y after ballet to help kill time until they got home, and that was a lot of fun. we now use the handicapped changing room exclusively because i can lock the door, preventing maggie from running out into the hallway at least 3 times while i'm changing. (and me from having to put a towel over myself to run after her. obviously that is an embarrassment waiting to happen!). so, the locking door on the handicapped changing room makes swimming possible. and really, no one says anything about me using it because clearly one look at us and they know i'm a woman who needs all the help she can get!
the big news with swimming is that nina now swims with just 2 bubbles. it's a little harder for her, she has to work the muscles a little more to stay afloat and move, but she loves it. the bubbles system is such an easy way for them to develop their strength.

finally, oma arrived and there was merriment, cheese, chocolate, cookies, coffee, and one other thing that doesn't start with "c" but i can't remember what... oh well, it'll come to me. books, was that it?

mom and dad popped by, and there was just one episode of mass hysteria over who was going to wear the princess nightgown. nina threw herself sobbing onto the futon, saying "i don't want maggie to wear my nightgown," and maggie threw herself to the futon, also sobbing. the situation was resolved when maggie was presented with the option of wearing her winnie the pooh shirt to bed. she loves pooh. grandma fixed the situation permanently by buying maggie an identical princess nightgown. whew! and i thought the clothing arguments weren't supposed to start for another 10 years!

edit: rice! that was it, oma also brought arboiro rice!

oma is visiting, and i'm not posting!

i tell you, once i break the stride of every-other-day posting, it's so easy to let the blog slip and bam! i realize a week has gone by. it's even harder to make the blog a priority when fully half of my audience is right here with us! add to that the daily phone calls with vanessa and erik, and there's little new to put up here.

still, the blog serves an important, but sometimes overlooked (by me) purpose, and that is its function as a record of the kids' early years. so, even if it's repetitious, i'll re-cap the week. feel free to skim.

sunday: sunday morning we went to church. there was some kind of "all saints' parish" thing going on (our lady queen of peace is no longer a "church" but a "worship center." that's because we now share a priest with a bunch of other churches, collectively called "all saints' parish.") so, some of the all saints parishoners from other worship centers came to church (worship?) at OLQP, and they did the readings an such. well, there was also big breakfast. what luck! poor nick had stayed home to work and was really disappointed when he found out about the breakfast. they had so much bacon they actually announced that people needed to come up for seconds to help finish it off. a little piece of nick heaven. maybe that's god's way of telling nick that by missing church, he's missing his own little heaven... hmm nick, you should think about that.
also, there was some mass cuteness from maggie; she still loves the singing, and was "la la la"ing along with the cantor woman while she was singing her solo cantor part (you know, where one one lady sings/chants something like "and the fruits of all the trees and birds will be ripe/for the season of the lord is upon us" and we all sing in response "we will praise the lord on this day" in some bizarre melody that is not melodious at all.) but adding maggie's "la la la"ing on top of that made for some real cuteness.

that's all i can think of from sunday. hm, i'll have to start another post about oma's visit.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

i can't believe i missed my blogiversary!

i totally forgot about it, even though i'd looked back at my first post in september and saw that i'd written it on october 14, 2008. well, happy belated blogiversary to me! i must say, i enjoy having the blog to look back on even more than i had thought. there are so many little things that i had forgotten. and the girls love it too; just today nina made me dig up the video of her saying "i have a big piece of toilet!" she loves that! this inevitably led to a youtube fest of halterfamily's video postings. remember the one where nina is feeding maggie a lollipop and maggie is wiggling her little feet in joy? ok, i'll link to it: here. i can't believe how much that little margarete has grown!!!!

here's to another year of cuteness!!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

maggie's newest words

today she added "tights." she was wearing tights with her fairy costume, and she really likes them. when we were looking at pictures, she kept pointing to her legs and saying "tights." also, while we were looking at pictures, nina's foot made a noise against the floor that sounded like a fart. maggie laughed, pointed at nina's butt, and said, "nina hart" which translates to "nina fart." aww!

happy halloween!

take a look at the girls' fairy costumes!

there was a halloween parade that started at the library and ended at the opera house. about 20 businesses handed out candy to the kids along the way. the girls loved it! even maggie, she loved the idea that people were handing us candy as we walked.
there was a small costume contest at the opera house (we didn't win anything, we were totally robbed! the winners all had purchased costumes, how dumb is that?), but it was still fun.

then we had dinner at china by the sea, to celebrate mom and dad's anniversary. happy anniversary mom and dad!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

we had a FANTASTIC leaf pile today!

wow, it was perfect. i made it right at the bottom of the slide and the kids LOVED it. the glee on maggie's face as she slid into (and almost disappeared under!) the leaves was priceless. nina particularly enjoyed the slide/flop (wherein she slides down into the leaves and then throws herself forward), and the face first slide. the girls' friends charlie and hattie came by for some fun too.

i do love a good leaf pile!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

nina's vocabulary is so cute

she's really picking up on and using some big words. yesterday at dinner, she called my chicken marsala "scrumptious!" such a nice compliment for her mama!

she also thinks nick is "hysterical" and that maggie can be "irritating." i'll try to think of more and jot them down when she says them, it's so hard to remember these things even at the end of the day!

maggie is a clever child

we're still potty training. today i started giving her jelly beans for using the potty, and she really likes that. she hasn't initiated trips to the potty in the way that nina did (grabbing my hand and saying "mama pee pee! mama pee pee!" while pulling me to the potty). no, instead, maggie's version of initiating a trip to the potty is to say "poo-poo... poo-poo..." softly, in a little sing-song voice. and if i hear her, good for me, but she makes no effort to get my attention. nope, i had better be paying attention to her! the jelly beans are having a good effect though, i think. now when she pees on the potty, she gets VERY excited; smiling, clapping her hands, and jumping up and down in anticipation of her jelly beans. we shall see if this leads to more potty initiation.

i take it back, the clever little child DOES tell me she has to go to the potty. why, at church on sunday she told me 3 times during mass that she had to go. she was lying. she just figured out that if she says poo-poo, we'll leave church and take a little trip to the potty. i finally gave up on mass and waiting in that room by the elevator with the girls. i know church is boring, but what a little devil!

a wonderful visit from the sullivan family

on thursday, my old college roommate mercedes came to visit with her husband ryan and their son liam. we had so much fun! liam is only 8 months old and such a cutie. nina loves babies, so she was so excited to have him around. maggie also had a fun time being a big kid to liam. she watched nina play peekaboo with him and tried to do it too (she covered her ears first instead of her eyes, it was so cute. then she looked over at nina and moved her hands to her eyes. adorable!)

we spent thursday around the house because maggie and liam's nap schedules weren't in sync. but on friday we took them to grimes cove and into town for a quick tour of the harbor. we tried to sell them on moving to maine, but it's too cold and dark for mercedes. :-(

nina kept calling liam william, which i thought was funny because liam is in fact the irish form of william. i think. or is it scottish? well, one of those. she also missed him when they were gone. she said, "i miss liam, he's my best buddy." awww.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


wow i'm really on a roll here! my fingers are getting tired!

tuesday was perhaps our busiest day of all. nina had her 4 year checkup at 9 am, so we had to be out of the house at 8:30 (we dropped mom's car off to be inspected on the way). she's a picture of health, of course! the best news is that she is 37 lbs (65th %ile) and 42.5 inches (91st %ile), which puts her BMI at the 35th %ile! YAY! she's almost never over 10th %ile in BMI, and now she's 35th! i couldn't believe it, i had to test out their scale myself, but it's right! this has to be the grandma effect.

nina was her usual adorable self. the dr asked her a bunch of questions, including asking about her eating habits. when he asked if she drank much milk she said "no, i'm not really much of a milk kind of kid." he laughed!

she got the H1N1 vaccine, it was the nasal spray and she didn't mind it at all.

straight from there, we went to a la leche meeting at nina's friend nora's house. nora also has a sister maggie's age, so it's a perfect match (nora also has 3 older brothers, this is the family we went apple picking with a few weeks back). la leche was a lot of fun with a lot of kids running wild.

after that it was home, a quick nap for maggie, and off again to dance class.

finally, we played outside for a few hours, because the weather has been so wonderful!


on monday, the girls and i went with mom to visit grandma in brunswick. my driver's license expires on my birthday so i need to get a maine one. actually, technically i guess they want you getting one within 30 days of moving to the state, but i didn't realize that, and then when the girl told me it had already been more than that, and we've been so busy... you know how it is.

well, long story short nick said he'd check the website for me and see what kind of ID i needed, but he failed to read all of the words on the website and so i didn't have my passport with me, and i couldn't get a license. wow, i was so happy with him.

then we went to target and got mittens for the girls, since it's getting cold.

finally, it was off to mcdonalds (monopoly!), where they have the playplace that the girls love so much. i got a large coffee (2 game pieces), a large fries (2 game pieces, the smaller sizes do NOT have game pieces), chicken nuggets for the girls, and a small burger for me. i didn't bother with the happy meal since i didn't need the extra fries or anything else that comes with it, since we were sharing the large fries, which i needed to get becasue of the game pieces. NICK, there is a point to all of this! stop criticizing me as i write!

the point is, nina asked for the toy that comes with her happy meal. i said, oh i'm sorry, i didn't get you a happy meal (i didn't explain about monopoly). she said "i didn't get a happy meal, i got a sad meal." aww, poor nina!


sunday was a slow, rainy kind of day (seems like all the sundays this month have been rainy). we did church, sunday school (remember i'm nina's teacher.) she LOVES it. she keeps asking for sunday school to be longer! she's not so much into church though, she's always complaining about the "boring stories." ha, it's true though, they can be pretty boring! she's good though, she does activities in her book and maggie babbles an yells "more!" whenever the singing stops. oh, nina's favorite part of mass is the petitions part (where they say "for all the clergy and whatever, blah blah blah, we pray to the lord), and nina says "LORD HEAR OUR PRAYER." everyone around us tries not to giggle, but her enthusiasm is so cute.

following that, i gave nick a stellar haircut. there was enough hair on the floor to build a small rodent, which we then released into the wild. not really.


it's been a busy week, so i'm working backwards to fill you all in on what's been going on. so, saturday:

we drove up to rockland to get snow tires for the winter (found some in uncle henry's. you know you live in maine when you get your snow tires from uncle henry's!). it was a beautiful fall day, and we took the girls to the new children's museum there. it was great, they loved it! small, but lots to do. we put together a 12-piece puzzle made from cardboard boxes painted on one side (they stacked up 4 wide and 3 high, so the completed puzzle was almost as tall as me). there was also a floor mat-style puzzle of the USA. i let the kids and nick help me with it some, but it was too much fun to let them do much. maggie loved the bean bag chairs and this one bouncy ball she found, and nina loved dishing out pizza in the play kitchen.

after that, we went to get the tires, but on the way we passed the cedarworks store (cedarworks is where we get our swingset). well, they had a bunch of those amazing swingsets they sell set up out front, so nick dropped me and the kids off while he went on to get the tires. more fun!

the girls did great on the road too. we bribed them with french fries on the way home (it's monopoly time at mcdonalds, we're addicts). maggie is facing forward now and loves the view--when some ocean came into view at one point, she yelled "WOW!! WAWA!!" over and over again, pointing. (wa-wa is water). it was too cute!

Friday, October 16, 2009

15 month check-up

maggie finally, at 16.5 months, had her 15 month check-up. it went swimmingly, of course, she's super healthy. and big! 26 lbs (like, 85th percentile) and 33 inches (over 97th percentile). she didn't appreciate having her head measured or the doctor listening to her heart (the horror!), but she cheered up quickly. her new pediatrician is dr. feder, who is a DO. i like that, since i felt it made him more able to check out maggie's torticollis. and he did, he checked the sternoclediomastoid muscle that used to be tight and said that it felt just fine. which i thought, she hasn't tilted her head in like a year and doesn't seem to have any problems with using either arm or anything, but i still wanted a check on it.

that is all, nina has her checkup next week, i'll be sure to update on her too!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

nina is very into anatomy

she has been for a while. we got her a book on the human body last year, so i know it's been going on for at least a year, though i can't remember exactly when it started. the interest has led us to field many interesting questions, such "how does food become poop?"

last friday after story hour at the library, we were looking for a book on injuries (she had seen a book at borders with a picture of a scalp wound in it, and she wanted more!). the library didn't have anything like that, but mrs. pinkham found us a whole bunch of interesting anatomy/human body books. nick was looking at a drawing in one with her, and he pointed out the kidneys.

"kidneys?" said nina. "you mean there's kid knees and adult knees?"


Saturday, October 10, 2009


i forgot to tell you vanessa, i got a haircut! i cut off at least 10 inches, enough to send to locks of love. i also cut nina's hair after a shampoo. there were a lot of tangles, and i told her i could cut it if she'd prefer that to me brushing it out. she did, so i did. finally, i trimmed maggie's bangs again. ok that's not much of a haircut but she deserves a picture too. here they are!

doesn't nina look so beautiful and grown up??

damariscotta pumpkin festival

what fun!

today we went to damariscotta for the pumpkin festival. i didn't even know they had this until last week or so. what happens is, someone gives out giant pumpkin seeds (that is, seeds to grow the giant pumpkin. i don't know how big the seeds themselves are). people all try to grow the pumpkins, and in october harvest them and see who grew the biggest one. the biggest pumpkin gets to be in the parade, and the loser pumpkins are carved and painted into neat-o shapes, things, and creatures on main street. my favorite i think was the pumpkin that was carved into a pine cone. the fetus carving was creepy and neat, that went in front of the maine cloth diaper company and baby store, so it was kind of fitting.

there was lots to do for the kids too. the girls made crafts (nina a pumpkin, maggie a leaf picture frame), jumped in a bounce pumpkin (maggie LOVED it. i had to drag her out screaming when her turn was done. poor girl!), threw some bean bags at a wood pumpkin target, picked a small pumpkin from a patch (nina had to have the one that looked like a butt, and maggie just wanted to take every one of them), and other such pumpkin-themed fun. it all ended today with a parade. tomorrow there will be more fun--pumpkin catapulting & pumpking boat racing (??? like, will people paddle in hollowed out pumpkins? i don't think they were that big, so maybe they'll just float them?). but tomorrow we're going to the fall foliage fair, so we'll be missing all that.

the fall foliage fair needs a bounce house, it's really not keeping up with the damariscotta pumpkin festival. or at least a hay pile... something for the kids besides the train. well, maybe there is more than in years past, i'll let you know tomorrow.


nina and mom were talking in the living room after dinner, and nick and i could hear nina from the dining room telling grandma how much she loves her oma and how excited she is for her to come visit. aww! we can't wait to see you oma!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

open house at the boothbay fire department

what a fun night! the boothbay fire department had an open house. hot dogs, hamburgers, sausages with sauteed peppers and onions, french fries and soda! oh, yeah, and all the firetrucks were there too. :-)

nina got to climb up on a ladder truck. they had the ladder fully extended, and she got to go right up to it. the kids weren't allowed to climb it of course, but she sat up there with the firefighter for like, 15 minutes, chatting with him about everything. she was pointing things out to him and i heard him say "boy, you don't miss a thing, do you?" and i was like, tell me about it brother! when she was getting down he said to us "you have a very intelligent little girl there!" he was very nice to chat with her, and to not talk down to her like some adults tend do.

maggie loved sparky, the person in the firedog costume. we followed him around for half an hour or so. so also liked sitting in one of the firetrucks, pushing buttons to her little heart's content (they said it was OK, everything was turned off. she was in heaven).

they even had a house filled with fake smoke that they used to demonstrate some of the tools they use in fires. nina was ok for a few minutes, then she got scared so we left. it was a bit strange, you could barely see in the smoke. oh yes, and maggie got to spray a fire hose. nina didn't, she was feeling too shy.

what a fun night!

our teeth

well, last week we found out that nina's teeth are perfect--no cavities and she does a great job brushing them all by herself. maggie's teeth are coming in full force too. 2 coming through the bottom, and at least 2 molars, and on top of that i think the 4th tooth on the front of the top jaw is moving in. she has been a bit miserable. nights are rough, and she's got a short fuse during the daytime. but she's still 90% wonderful.

but i'm writing today about me and nick. we had our cleanings and exams on monday. i'm sure you'll all be relieved to know that the tooth pain i had at night last week is nothing. the x-rays were fine, dr. grosser said it's probably just from clenching my jaw at night, which i know i do sometimes. whew! also i have no cavities.

nick, on the other hand, is not so lucky. he is also cavity free, but you know his extra tooth? it turns out it's not really an extra tooth, it's just that his baby tooth never fell out because the adult tooth came out way up top there and so didn't push the baby one out. this is not great, because the baby tooth's root is starting to dissolve and dr. grosser says it will eventually fall out. he says nick should see an orthodontist to talk about options for moving that adult tooth down to where it should be and pulling the baby tooth. nick isn't thrilled with this, but has agreed to talk to the orthodonist. i know we live in maine, but i don't want a husband with missing teeth!

it's not terribly pressing, but at the same time dr. grosser says it's generally better to take care of these things sooner than later, as they just tend to get more complicated and therefore more expensive as we get older.

isn't that the tooth!

HA! couldn't help myself!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

funny girl

tonight we were watching america's funniest home videos.

nina sat on the couch, looked at the TV, and said, "i want to watch it in HD."

nick was so proud!

halloween is coming

i did the carving, but the girls helped scoop out the pumpkin seeds. maggie liked squishing them in her hands and making them squeeze out across the room. we used some of his innards to make pumpkin bread!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

my teeth

so, right after i wrote the last post about how i'm not sure if my teeth are cavity free or not, i had tooth pain. well, not right after. it was last night, i don't know if this happens to anyone else but do you ever clench your teeth and night and one molar hurts? then you poke that molar with your finger and it hurts? all the way down to the root. i hope this isn't a really bad thing, it always feels totally better the next morning but it's something that happens once a year or so. not always the same tooth either... i always think i should go to the dentist after it happens, but then i immediately forget. i forgot about it until just now, when i was looking at the blog. well, now the mystery will be solved. i'll find out if it's just something that happens because i sometimes clench my teeth at night, or if it means the dreaded cavity.

ok nick says this doesn't happen to him. uh-oh! what if i need a root canal?!!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

a visit to the dentist

well, it had been almost 5 years since nick or i went to the dentist, and nina has never been, so all 4 of us shipped off for a visit on monday. nina's beautiful, perfect teeth are officially cavity-free!! the dentist was very impressed that she brushes her own teeth and does such a wonderful job. nina was quite proud of herself.

nick and i have to wait until our x-rays come back to have a thorough exam, so we won't know our cavity status until next monday. nick feels confident that his teeth are fine, i'm not so sure... there have probably been too many nights that i was too exhausted to brush well, or too tired to floss, so i wouldn't be surprised if i have a cavity or 2. there are a few spots on my teeth that sometimes hurt, but only for a day or so and only very rarely. so, we shall see... if i have any, i will certainly blame them on motherhood.

maggie didn't get a tooth check, but dr. grosser said he'd be happy to peek in her mouth next time (she was asleep the whole visit, nick and i took turns waiting in the car with her). she only has 5 teeth and 1 molar, but dr. grosser says the longer they're safe in the gums, away from all the sugars of early childhood, the better, so no worries.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

i'm a sunday school teacher

yup, it's true. i taught my first class this morning (not first class ever, i used to teach sunday school to the little kids when i was in high school). my only students were nina and maggie, but they LOVED it. nina misses school, but still doesn't want to be away from me for very long (unless she's with grandma, in which case i get in trouble for coming to get her. the other day she glared at me when i came over to my mom's house to get her and said, "you destroyed my alone time with grandma!" slowly she warmed up to me, but then about an hour later i dashed off to finish staining the dresser. she was a bit sad to see me go, and i thought maybe she was feeling bad about being mean to me when i came. so i said to her "do you want to apologize for saying i destroyed your alone time with grandma?" and she nodded her head and said, "i'm sorry you destroyed my alone time with grandma." aww... except i'm not really sure if she said what she meant to say, or if her apology came out wrong. i assume that it came out wrong.)

well, sunday school. the perfect compromise for nina is to have school with me as the teacher. so we have our own little classroom, with very little chairs around a very low table, and lots and lots of art supplies. today i read a kiddy version of genesis while the girls drew pictures about the story. and then i drew the earth on the blackboard, and clouds, the sun, the moon, and some animals, all the while recapping the story. nick was my classroom helper. :-)

there is another preschool-aged girl that goes to church and she will be in our class too. she just wasn't there today.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

another busy week

and another retrospective fill-in. did i write about my mastitis? i think i did. well, i'm pretty much totally better but i think still a bit tired, as i haven't had the energy for doing much in the evening besides getting the kids in bed and then vegging in front of the TV (and then re-settling maggie at least once). and then eating!

regardless, we have had a very busy week. on wednesday i took the girls to ocean point to throw rocks in the water. maggie can do that for hours. it was a nice warm (hot! mid 70s!) day, and we felt like taking a little trip. besides, nina and maggie LOVE thrill hill. nina asks to go over it all the time.

well, we got to ocean point and there was a fog bank! brr!! good thing i had thrown jackets in the car just in case. we spent about half an hour throwing rocks and looking a the surf (there were some nice 1-2 foot waves), and then we went to visit grandma at the ebb tide. we were planning to meet nick and dad there for dinner, so we went to the library for a while to kill time.

on thursday, we went to the farmers' market in the morning, part of our usual weekly routine. usually we go to the playground after that, but we ran into nora and her family and they asked if we wanted to go apple picking with them in damariscotta in the afternoon. we did, nina loves to do things with nora, so we skipped the playground and went home to get ready for some picking.

the orchard was a really small one on biscay road (just 2 or 3 miles past tempcontrol's office), and the girls had a fun time. the trees were small and the apples were very close to the ground, so picking was super easy for the kids. they filled up their bags in just a few minutes, then all sat on the ground eating apples (nora is one of 5, plus my 2, made a total of 7 little kids! quite the group we had!)

so, we're all eating lots of apples and drinking lots of cider these days!

204th post!

earlier this week, when i did my posting blitz, i put up my 200th post. i dind't notice it at the time, so that's why i'm somewhat randomly celebrating my 204th post.

wow! it's been almost a year and boy has it flown by.

some of you may have noticed that i haven't put up any videos lately. our new camera doesn't take videos, so i have to use our old camera for that. it's time for a video though, so i promise to make sure one goes up some time next week. the girls are really into building cities of block towers lately, so maybe i'll be able to record some of that in action.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

the last day of summer

monday was the last day of summer. mom and i celebrated by taking the girls to the beach! actually, it was just a coincidence. charlie and hattie's mom called in the morning to say they were going to hendrick's head, did we want to come. our first reaction was "isn't it cold for the beach?" but then we realized the high was forecast to be 75 and even if it wasn't, what the heck? so we went.

it really did hit 75, which is high beach weather here in maine! some of nina and maggie's other friends were there, and a great time was had by all. the girls built some sand castles, dug a pit and filled it with water, and threw rocks into the ocean. maggie sat on a rock with a pail filled with little stones and threw them into the water for half an hour. she was so happy.

we even went into the water. nina went all the way up to her thighs. i only went in up to my ankles, and once they went numb i couldn't feel a thing. it was great! :-)

it was a perfect way to spend the last day of summer though. of course, with the amazing forecast we have for the next week or so, we might end up back at the beach again!

training pants!

maggie is on the way to potty independence! we picked up some training pants for her at target and put them on her when we got home. she promptly christened them. haha!

she's doing great on the potty though. she usually pees on it about 5 times a day, and in her diaper probably 5 times. the hard thing about potty training at this age is that they go so often. but, the mix of potty and diaper and training pants works for us. basically, i have her in training pants around the house. i make sure to take her on her schedule: every half hour for the first 2 hours of the morning, hourly until nap, after nap, and then it's much less frequent, so either whenever she says poo-poo (she doesn't say pee-pee for some reason, but poo-poo means either poop or pee), or whenever i think she might be ready to go. she is in a diaper whenever we leave the house or when i'm too preoccupied to keep my mind on taking her enough.

the big breakthrough of the last week or 2 is that she will sometimes tell us when she has to go to the bathroom. i tried giving her cookies for using the potty, but she didn't want on. what kind of kid doesn't want a cookie?!

i'm hoping that she'll be out of diapers full-time by 18 mos. i'm certainly not as good about taking her as i was with nina, so we'll see if that translates to a later age. nina started telling me when she had to go potty at 16.75 months and was out of diapers by 17.5 months. so, we'll see...

apple picking!

on saturday, we went apple picking. where did we go? i don't know. lemme ask nick...

he says rocky ridge farm in bowdoin. we tried to figure out for weeks which orchard we were going to go to. the closest one? an organic one? are hayrides a must? one had a corn maze and petting zoo, is that worth an almost 2 hour drive? in the end, we went with none of this. go figure. see, i really, really wanted this colored stain for the new tv stand that i'm finishing myself, and they didn't have it at grovers, so we decided to go to home depot in topsham. we figured while we were there, we could stop by target and get training pants for maggie (update coming next!). we found an orchard only 6 miles from mt. ararat, so the decision was made!

the farm was great fun. they had wagons you could use to pull the kids and apples, the girls LOVED it. they also had a pumpkin patch and a barn swing (that's a swing in a barn, it was a hit with nina. maggie was too little).

we picked cortland and macintosh apples. there were tons of apples on the low branches, so nina had no trouble reaching them. there were even apples within maggie's reach, but she was a bit overwhelmed. she really loves apples (apple is one of her favorite words, she pronounces it "ah-poo" which is so cute), so we thought picking them would be a real hit. turns out it was a bit upsetting for her to see them on the ground, just lying there. she started to flip out about it (ah-poo! ah-poo! she said, in that increasingly frantic way of hers), but we calmed her down and then she was ok. whew, close call!

we also got a hot dog, beans, biscuit, and cole slaw for only 3.95! what a deal! actually we got 2 orders. plus 2 donuts and 2 honey straws. and 2 pumpkins. and about 15 lbs of apples and 3 gourds.

of course we have pictures that, of course, we have not yet downloaded. i was SO exhausted by the end of the day and in pain from a clogged milk duct. by 7 pm i had a fever, and i was afraid i had mastitis (an infected milk duck). i did, but now i'm better.

i'll try to put the pictures up after i finish updating on our week.

friday night: family fun night!

we have started a new tradition: Friday Night Family Fun Night. open swim at the Y from 6 to 7:30. we all had a great time! can you believe nick had never been swimming at the Y pool?
nina is swimming so well! she uses either bubbles or a life jacket still, but she is fearless and has the doggy paddle down. maggie loves the water now too, that was a gradual change.

before the swim, we had pizza at the house of pizza. we happened to see nina's friend nora's dad there, picking up pizza for their family before they were going to go swimming. nina and nora get along so well, they had a great time swimming together. how nice. :-)

Thursday, September 17, 2009

rabbit stew!

don't tell nina, but i made rabbit for dinner tonight. it was good! i had gotten some at the farmers' market, i saw it on the sign and once i started thinking about it, i couldn't resist. i don't think i'd ever had rabbit before. nick can't remember having had it either (anne?)

it tasted kinda like chicken. nice and tender though. a bit of stringiness, but not tough like stringiness implies. stringy but tender like really nice stewed beef. perhaps because i did stew it, in the crock pot with some onions, celery, carrots, and parsnips. served over egg noodles.

i have been feeling in a meat rut, which is what inspired me to look at the farmer's market for something different.

i saved the liver for a recipe i found online: sautee the liver with leeks and shallots, deglaze with cognac, add cream, and use to fill a puff pastry. sounds sooooo good!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

more cuteness

first up, nina cuteness:

this was from a while back, but i forgot to write about it. we were visiting grandma brancato and mom asked nina if she wanted some cranberry juice. "no," said nina, "i react to cranberry juice."

this next one is embarrassing...

scene: me sitting on couch in family room, nina standing next to me.
nina: "firetruck starts with F. fly starts with F. and some impolite words start with F."

me: "um, yeah, that's right. we don't say impolite words, right?"

oops. i hope she didn't hear that from me. it must have been something she overheard on the mean streets of NYC.

in other news, maggie is amazing. we were playing before bed, practicing ballet together with nina (maggie was doing plies with us, it was so cute. she kept squatting down, holding her hands out in front of her belly. i will try to get it on camera). then she'd fall down once in a while. the falling down must have triggered a memory, because she fell down again and sang "all fall down!" now, the words weren't right, but she had the tune and cadence down, and i immediately knew what she was saying. so, the 3 of us girls played ring around the rosy for a while and maggie was absolutely delighted.

the most amazing part of this is that she definitely hasn't heard ring around the rosy since may at the latest. the kids used to do it at story hour in NY sometimes, but we went maybe once a month... so maye she heard it once or twice in april or may. before that, at tamar's birthday in december, but she was only 7 months old then! incredible, that she could remember something from before her first birthday. my kids are amazing!

Friday, September 11, 2009

cute things they say and do

yesterday nina and grandpa went to the ebb tide for dinner (i made beets for dinner, dad was having none of that. when nina found out he would be heading to the ebb tide instead of eating with us, she wanted to go too). they had a great time. nina even got to help grandma by handing out menus! so cute!

maggie missed her while she was gone. for a second, i thought nick and i were going to get to eat dinner alone because maggie had fallen asleep. but that lasted all of 3 minutes. oh well. so when maggie woke up she was looking for nina. "where nina?" she kept asking (can you believe she's asking questions like that?! what the heck, she's not a baby any more!). she insisted that nina was over at grandma's house and made me take her over there. finally she was satisfied that no one was home at grandma's, so we went back home and waited out front for nina and grandpa to get home. i don't know how she's going to handle nina going to school next year, oh my!

maggie has a cold today, she's been sneezing big snotty sneezes all day. today in the car nina told me that she's dopey, papa is grumpy, i'm snow white, and maggie is sneezy because she's been sneezing all day. it's true.

final bit of cuteness: nina was looking at her soup and stirring it. "look," she said to me, "you can see the molecules!"

is it friday already?

how does this happen? i thought i just updated yesterday or something, and it's been almost a week. i'm so far off pace, it's pathetic. well, on to the updates.

ballet was a hit. nina LOVED it. class is an hour long, and the kids do a mix of classic ballet steps and creative movement (running around, ballerina style). nina is such a good student--she follows directions so closely and really knows what she's doing. she's so graceful too. she's a natural!! maggie, unfortunately, wanted to be out there with the girls too. i didn't have a good plan about what i was going to do with maggie during the class, so i didn't have books or toys with me to occupy her. we ended up sitting on the side, doing what the big girls were doing. next week we'll go to the grocery store during class, but nina had asked me to stay for the first one. the other day she told me i could leave next time.

after class i took the girls swimming at the Y. maggie is really warming up to swimming, she lasted 25 minutes in the pool, i think that's some kind of record.

on the way home, nina asked why the first ballet class was not full-length. i told her it was full-length--it was an hour, and all of her classes would be 1 hour. then she reprimanded me for getting there late and said she wanted to be there on time next time. i told her we were early for the class. she said oh. i explained that an hour can go by really fast when you're having fun. and i thought an hour might be too long for her to stay interested!

so that's the ballet update. can't wait for next tuesday!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

a maine 4th birthday party for our princess

as i've blogged about before, nina is really, really into the princess thing these days. being in austria really fed that; she got to see the winter palace, the crown jewels, a glimpse of the summer palace (schonbrunn, that's where the zoo is), and even some castle ruins (nina was not impressed. after that, she continually specified that she wanted to see a castle that was not falling down).

anyway, the princess thing was obviously the inspiration for her maine birthday cake. i got the idea for it from the disney website (they actually have a section called "parenting your princess," and of course i gave it a thorough browse). nina and maggie put the sprinkles on--nina carefully sprinkling them on, and maggie grabbing a fistful and flinging them across the table. and then screaming when i took them away.

nina insisted that the castle have flags, but truth be told, i was planning on it anyway. she also clarified that even though she was having another birthday party, she wasn't turning 5. cutie.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

back in maine!

well, we've been back for a week, but time has been scarce, what with adjusting back to eastern time, unpacking, and general life in boothbay.

i'll pick up from where i left off, or thereabouts. the flight home went very well. it was very, very long, and our discount carrier was a bit of a pain in the butt (air berlin. the biggest complaint i had was that the planes didn't pull right up to the terminal, we had to take a bus out onto the tarmac. it was just one extra step with the kids that was kind of a pain. oh well though, the kids thought it was exciting). maggie LOVES airplanes though, so being at the airport and seeing them up close was very exciting. i guess from her perspective, getting onto the airplane from the tarmac was better, because she got to see that we were actually getting onto an airplane. when you get on from the terminal through one of those corridors, you don't really get to see that you're getting on to an airplane. oh, a maggie sentence: when we were at the terminal waiting for the bus to take us to the plane, she saw the buses going by. previously, we'd gotten some food at an airport restaurant and she had been watching the planes take off and land. so at this terminal, she pointed to a bus and said, "no plane, bus." since we've been home, her 3 word phrases have really continued to take off. you have to listed carefully because her pronunciation isn't as clear as nina's was at her age, but she's saying a ton. i've officially completely lost count, but i'd guess she's at somewhere in the 150 - 200 words range.

so, the flight. looooooooooong, but good. the kids were happy, barely slept, but our fellow passangers were as bored as the kids were. when maggie would walk up and down the aisle, people would stop her to play. no one can resist the kids. nina was flirting with 2 30-year-old men seated behind us, that was nice. they were a german and an austrian, i'm glad she likes older men. after nina had been talking with them for a while, maggie popped her head up above the seat to say hi too. one of them asked "what's your name?" and maggie responded with her trademarked, frantic "NO!!" it was funny.

we landed on time, great-grandpa picked us up and took us to astoria, and we hit the playground. we stayed at the merons' house, which was a dream come true for nina, ethan, and maggie (who still thinks she's one of the big kids at the playground. she's pretty much as big as they are, so i can see why she thinks this...)

in the morning (the "morning," that would be the beginning of our day, which was 3 am. that was 9 am austria time, so it was actually a reasonable wake up time. except that we'd just come off of a 22 hour day). we had breakfast at the diner, that was a blast, and then hit the playground again. when the girls were sufficiently exhausted, we hit the road for boston. we hit a bunch of traffic on the way, but the girls slept practically the whole time. they finally woke up when we stopped because i had to go to the bathroom, but it was time anyway.

and then, we reached chester. oh, the joy on the three kids' faces. (chester being the third kid of course). craig came by for lunch on friday, then we hit the road again. the final leg was smooth as well, and before we knew it we were back home in maine. hooray!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

and to continue to fill in on the last few days...

because i don't feel like cleaning up the kitchen just yet...

friday, oma and i took the girls to a water park. great fun! they had a kiddie area with a pool that was up to about maggie's waist and had some sprinklers in it and a water slide. so fun! the slide was great, it was flat enough at the bottom that the kids didn't shoot into the water and risk going under. nina loved it, and maggie insisted on going down too. of course she loved it, i had to ride down with her on my lap about a dozen times. well, i didn't mind. it was fun!

we also played in the deeper adult pool. there were 2 tall water slides that the girls were too little for, but i see many more water parks in our future. good times.

saturday we went walking up in that park behind the casino in baden. there is a small petting zoo at the top, so we fed some goats. also good fun. maggie wasn't much for walking up hill (the petting zoo was at the top of a decent-sized hill). a few times she wanted to be put down, took 2 steps, stopped and reached up to be picked up again. she knows when she's got it good!

then on sunday, nick's friend peter wohrer came for a visit. such a nice guy, we had fun catching up.

that's it! it's been a wonderful visit!


we went to the zoo on monday. great fun! the kids especially liked the giraffes, penguins, rhino, and tigers. the giraffes were right up close to us and they were SO BIG! i didn't realize giraffes were that big. enormous. maggie kept saying "wow!"

the zoo also had a fantastic playground and surprisingly good, while unsurprisingly overpriced, french fries (one of maggie's new words by the way). i'm downloading pics right now, but since we took a lot, it's taking a while. nick and i keep disagreeing about how many photos is too many. i say there is no such thing as too many photos of our beautiful chillins, he says they take up too much space (that would be e-space for you older readers. these days, "the pictures are taking up too much space" has nothing to do with the bookcase. ah how times change!).

now we're just getting ready to head home! nina really misses maine. i told her we were going back to NY tomorrow and she said 'no we're not! we're going back to maine!' the panic! i corrected myself.

so, we are in the princess phase full-throttle. i think being around all these castle ruins and palaces is feeding the frenzy. i had to call nina cinderella today. maggie was princess aurora (that's sleeping beauty's name for all you non-princess immersed folk), while i got the pleasure of responding to "evil stepmother" or sometimes, just "evil mother." like, "evil mother, princess aurora wants some water." maggie's happy to be princess aurora today though--yesterday, nina was snow white and maggie was dopey. dopey! i told nina that maggie should be happy instead, but nina pointed out that dopey and maggie both don't talk... ouch. poor maggie! i have no idea how she learned about the whole snow white story line, we haven't seen the movie. of course, the best ("best") was when i warned nina that if she didn't listen to me, i was going to put her in time out, and she responded, "you can't put me in time out, i'm a princess." oh! oma and i looked at each other and tried very hard not to laugh (and succeeded!). i swear, nina must have had some ideas about how 4 year olds act, because she started acting differently when she turned 4. and true to her promise, she gave up nuk! we're very proud of her for that, of course. she still falls asleep with it, but no nuk all day long. awww!

wow, the photos are just over half way downloaded. well, i will try to put some zoo pics up when they're done, but first i have to clean up the kitchen.

i will call tomorrow after we land mom!

Thursday, August 20, 2009


wow! we went to the austrian national treasury the other day, where they have on display such priceless treasures as the imperial crown, scepter, and sphere of the holy roman empire. these things were built in 962! i had no idea such ancient treasures were going to be on display.

it was awesome. we have a few pics, which i will upload as soon as i can.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

musical maggie

maggie can sing 5 songs, as far as i can tell:

the itsy-bitsy spider
head, shoulders, knees and toes
the ahh-ahh-ahh tune from the little mermaid
twinkle twinkle little star
it's a wonderful world

when she sings it's a wonderful world, she sings the line "the bright blessed day" as
"da ba baba daaa," the rest is less audible word-wise, but she has the tune down.

anyway, yesterday we were at a park with suzy and her daughter hannah, and maggie was digging in the wood chips singing it's a wonderful world, and it was too cute. then, on the train home, nina was singing it, delighting our fellow passengers. awww.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

check out our hike!

today we went for a hike in the Naturpark Hohe Wand (translation: High Wall Nature Park). it's about a 45 minute drive from here. wow! check out our pics:

view from the "skywalk." we drove to a parking lot about 2 km from this point and hiked the rest of the way. nina did great, maggie just wanted to play in the dirt and was furious when we tried to carry her. so, it was slow going.

oh, you can just barely see a parasailor in the middle of this photo. it's tiny. but, there were about a dozen of them. maggie kept pointing to them and saying "wow!"

a bit hazy because it was almost 90 today. but the woods were cool and shady, it was only sunny when we got to the skywalk.

the skywalk! aunt marilyn's worst nightmare. :-) it was so cool.

here you can see how it's cantilevered out about 30 feet.

looking down. scary! looking down from the end of the skywalk was even scarier. i couldn't bring myself to take a picture!

we all walked back together for about 1 km to a restaurant/inn, and then nick and anne went on to the car while i waited there with the girls. they were tuckered out and fell asleep on the way home.

cool though, huh?! nick and anne had never been either. nina had been asking to go over the hills since we got here, so nick found this for us. i'm so glad we went! nick says this "hill," which is a bit more plateau-ish because it's flat on top, is part of the voralpen (fore-alps), which is what all the hills in the baden area are considered part of. so, not technically in the alps. i'm not sure where the alps technically start. anyway, i'll put more pictures on facebook right now.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

fourth birthday!

here are pictures from the little princess's birthday:

her cake. it had princesses on it

ariel doll

blowing out her candles

maggie at the play place

the girls in the ball pit

Thursday, August 13, 2009

gooey wooey

for some fun this afternoon the girls were playing on oma and opa's balcony with some water in a little tub. i made some little boats from newspaper for them to play with in the water, which they crumpled and sank immediately. the soggy newspaper was dubbed gooey-wooey, and nina sang a long song about gooey-wooey, adding ever more newspaper. it was a mess, but they were having fun. nina was elbow deep in her gooey-wooey and said:

nina: it just doesn't get any better than this. (pause) can i have some more newspaper?
me: sure (hands nina more newspaper)
nina: this is even better.

what a funny kid. i can't believe she turns 4 tomorrow!!!!!!!!

in other news, i am wearing one of nick's shirts right now. maggie was talking to me, then started playing with the collar and said, "papa shirt." her language is really exploding.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

is it wednesday already??

it's almost 10 and maggie is awake! she fell asleep easily at 7 tonight, but has been restless and wont stay asleep. she knows she is not in her own bed i think. at least nina is sleeping well. that's great, it means she'll be up nice and early. so one up early, one up late. yup, lucky us.

not much else going on. we went to the playground at doblhoff park, that's the park with the duck pond too. and lots of flowers, maggie loves flowers.

i am out of mohnstrudel (that's poppy strudel). what's time in austria without all the mohn i can eat!!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

a sample menu from the boat

dinner, friday, july 31

appetizers & soups
carpaccio of venison loin, lingonberry jelly & toasted pecan nuts
symphony of seafood: scallops, salmon mousse with caviar & tartare of salmon
frogs legs provencal
cheddar cheese soup, rye bread croutons
clear oxtail essence, sherry wine, chester stick

lollo rosso & apple salad, caramelized walnuts, cider vinaigrette
frisee & boston lettuce, grilled pears & duck confit

pesto ravioli, cherry tomato confit, basil oil & toasted pine nuts
pan-seared salmon, moroccan chick peas, coriander emulsion
herb-roasted lamb rack, grilled eggplant, anna potatoes
surf & turf of beef fillet & garlic shrimp, roasted parsnip mash, tarragon jus
eggplant parmigiana, sauteed garlic spinach (vegetarian)

vanilla napoleon, cherry compote
summer berry parfait with vanilla and honey
date, walnut & white chocolate bread & butter pudding, caramel sause
sugar-free - chocolate fudge brownie
cherry vanilla and rocky road ice creams, strawberry frozen yoghurt with kiwi sauce
cheese selection with stilton, herb boursin, munster, english cheddar

symphony of seafood

carpaccio of venison loin


Saturday, August 8, 2009

kiddie cuteness

nina insisted on sleeping in the suitcase the night we were in london. she was playing chester, and that was chester's bed... so nick and i went along, because the room only had a king-sized bed, which is big, but not that big. still, we moved her into the bed when we were done watching TV.

anyway, the next day at the airport, our chatty nina had to LOUDLY tell everyone "i slept in the luggage last night!" i'd add "she wanted to! it was her idea! she was pretending to be a dog!" but that didn't make it sound any better. i needed my negligent mother t-shirt, then i wouldn't have to worry about trying to explain.

maggie, in the meanwhile, has become quite proficient at stringing words together. in the swing at the north queensview playground the day we left for our cruise, nick was pushing her for a while and then asked her if she wanted to get out. she responded "no out! no out!"

and then to top that, i was telling her two nights ago that the nanas were going to sleep (i'm trying to start the process of getting her to sleep without nursing. we'll see how that goes). so i said, "good-night nanas!" and she said "bye-bye nanas" (she always says bye-bye and not good night). she was proud of herself and said it a few times. then she stopped smiling, grabbed my shirt, tried to pull it up and said "no bye-bye nanas!!" her first three word phrase! (well, the first very clearly discernible three word phrase.) also probably indicative of how well the night weaning will go. hehe.

family fun fest!

today we went to a children's festival in baden. it was great! there was an inflatable slide (kind of like a moon bounce but a big slide) that nina LOVED. maggie had to try it too, so i carried her up and slid down with her on my lap. she loved it as much as nina. we did it twice, but it was pretty high up and i was afraid she could get hurt, so two times was it. she protested that decision of course.

there were also a bunch of street performers who were really fun to watch. there was even a mechanical bull, but we thought the girls were too young for that. there were balloon folders on stilts, people in butterfly costumes on stilts, and all kinds of fun like that. we got home just before 8 and the girls conked out.

we took photos, of course (we really love our new camera), but we haven't downloaded them yet. next!

as much as i can write about london before maggie wakes up!

ok, london. we arrived at our hotel by 11 am, so we thought, hey, let's take the train into london! it turned out that camilla had the entire day off of work, so we met up with her for lunch at a pub outside of victoria station at 1 pm. great auntie cam is wonderful! she sends her love to everyone.

from the pub we walked to a small park (grass and pigeons to chase, but no playground. london is not especially child-friendly, there are no playgrounds in the whole city as far as we could find out!). then we walked over to trafalgar square and dipped our feet in the fountain (it was odd to be in london on a hot day with the sun shining!). then we took a double-decker bus (nina insisted) past big ben, parliment, and westminster abbey and ended up back at victoria station. quite a whirl-wind day, but very fun.

we stayed at the gatwick hilton, which is connected right to our airplane terminal. very easy! a scary thing happened while we were on line to go through security though: the man directly in front of us had a seizure. it was scary for the girls (and us too!). maggie is as empathetic as nina was at her age, and started wailing. nina was upset and confused by the seizure and by maggie getting so upset, so we cut to the front of the line to clear out. it's not like having two crying kids was going to help the poor man out any, the airport security was right on the scene clearing people away and calling a doctor. i had to explain seizures to nina over and over again, and she ended up processing it as the man having "reflux of falling down," whereas she has "reflux of coughing," which is not nearly as bad. she also wanted to be reassured that no one in our family has seizures. so, we've talked about it many times now (she keeps bringing it up again), but i think she's mostly over it now. i haven't heard about it today anyway.

aside from that, the flight was great. quick! we got to vienna at 2 or 3 and took the bus with oma back to baden.

and maggie's still asleep! hm, it's been over an hour, so she should be up soon. after this nap we're headed to some kind of fair in baden, should be fun!

oma and opa are great, of course they love seeing the girls. nina is there with nick right now and i'm in the apartment we're staying in (which is fantastic too).

ok then, more updates soon!