about a dream: 2010

Friday, December 31, 2010

happy new year!

just a quick post because it's a busy day. i told the girls about new year's resolutions, and here are theirs:

nina: cuddling with mom
maggie: NANEY!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

christmas was great

and now we're hunkered down for a blizzard!!

but first, christmas! it was fantastic. nina woke up just before seven and whispered "chrrrrissmas? chrissstmass... CHRISTMAS!!!!!!!!!" and then ran downstairs to see if santa brought her the snow boots she wanted. he did! she ran back upstairs with them to show us, a huge smile on her face. maggie followed her back downstairs and in spite of her posturing, was thrilled to see that santa had brought her a belle dress. nina checked in the fridge to see if gingy, the cookie man she'd made for santa, was gone. and he was! santa must have eaten him when he was dropping off the presents. good thing santa thought to check in the fridge because we forgot to set gingy out before bed!!

after opening presents at our house, we went next door and had breakfast and did presents there. erik, isabelle, and chester were there, plus oma! she unexpectedly came up from NY to be here for christmas. now she's stuck! her flight out was cancelled today, so she probably won't go until tuesday night.

after presents at the parents' house, we took the girls and their new sleds out sledding at the high school. it was fun, the sleds were super! isabelle's mom and aunt were staying at the flagship, so they came out too, then we all headed back to mom and dad's for some christmas feast.

then came a rousing game of balderdash! nina and i won, in spite of her preference for voting for the first answer choice read. well, that was better than last time, when she always voted for us. hm, maybe she didn't get that we were supposed to vote for the answer we thought was actually correct, not just the one we thought was best. finally, the gilchrists came by for dessert, and we didn't get home until 10. what a busy holiday!!

well, i'm exhausted, i can barely type tonight! nick and i took the girls to see the new disney movie, "tangled," this afternoon. it was really good! it was computer animated, which i wasn't expecting, i thought the princess movies would stick with regular cartoon animation. but i liked it.

if we still have electricity in the morning i'll update!!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

take that, santa

i put this on facebook, but it needs to be on the blog for posterity.

ok, so we all know that margarete is her own woman. well, i was hoping that i could leverage the santa thing for some better behavior (it always worked with nina). so, margarete was not listening as usual (i don't even remember what she was doing. licking the window? trashing the house? tormenting nina?). it doesn't matter. i told her to stop doing what she was doing and listen to mommy, or else santa wouldn't bring her any presents. she looked at me. 'that's ok,' she said. 'i saw a good belle dress at the red store (target). i can get that one.'
then nina said she didn't have any money, and maggie said she's just take some from their toy cash register.

man that kid's got attitude! what kind of 2 year old says screw santa, i can get what i want. i think she must take after mom. :-)

she's really figuring out how to push nina's buttons too. lately it's copying whatever nina says. such a classic move, and there's a reason it's a classic i'm finding out. still, nina adores her little sister. and maggie adores nina. they're both so happy to have each other all day now that nina's home on vacation.

tomorrow is christmas eve!! hopefully i will find a few minutes to update. the girls are overwhelmed with excitement of course. well, minus the typical santa excitement on maggie's end of course.

oh christmas tree oh christmas tree

nick's source of anxiety!

see how that rhymes? it's my alternate lyrics to "oh christmas tree." nick is very stressed by the way the needles are falling from it. if anyone touches the tree he freaks out! oh, it's a long chrismas season at the halter house.

the girls posed for some adorable photos under the tree the other day. they'd make great christmas cards, but we already sent our cards out (already! haha. i was aiming to get them out earlier this year, oh well.)

we got some great snow this morning! we've made 2 fantastic snow men and are working on a snow fort. that, and just waiting impatiently for christmas!

hopefully i will write more tonight!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

oh and on thursday

i took maggie swimming at the Y. she swam with 3 bubbles all by herself for over half an hour! she didn't want to get out of the pool but mommy was getting cold, otherwise i'm sure she could have stayed in all day. she did such a great job though! she motored those adorable little legs and paddled with her arms and swam the entire length of the pool and back again. it's a big pool! she was so happy and having so much fun. unfortunately, they close the pool on jan 1 to begin construction on the new pool. we can use nearby Y pools while ours is closed for free, but i'm not too keen on trekking 20 minutes for it. we'll see. if she really wants to go back, how could i say no?

went to the portland children's museum yesterday

nina has been many times, and maggie went as a baby, but it has been so long that it was entirely new to both of them. they had a great time! they've added a balls and ramps room where the gift shop used to be, and i think that was maggie's favorite. nina liked the fake cow (maggie was her name!) and the fire truck (it has a fire pole inside, and sliding down the fire pole is her favorite playground activity). we stayed for about 2.5 hours and the girls had a blast.

afterwards we stopped by the target in topsham to get a few last minute gifts and stocking stuffers. i think we're set for christmas! there is much wrapping to do, and nina desperately wants to bake some christmas cookies, but there's time for that.

i just finished vacuuming while nick has the girls over at mom and dad's, feeding the fish and watching some wonder pets. then it's off to the track and grocery store. such busy lives we lead!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Field trip to the animal shelter yesterday

maggie, mom, and i chaperoned. i wasn't going to, but on tuesday night nina asked if i would come, so i told her i'd call the school in the morning and see if they still needed chaperones. and to my surprise, they did! usually maggie would have dance class on wednesday mornings, but she refuses to go any more (she was so happy there, and one week i spent the entire time outside of the dance room and she didn't mind at all. so the next week i thought, 'great, i'll go to the grocery store!' and it backfired. maggie got really upset and never wanted to go back. i tried reassuring her i would stay with her, and even dancing with her, but no luck. i messed up and there are no second chances with margarete). so, anyway, with no dance to worry about, we were free to go. and maggie loves animals so much that i thought she'd be thrilled.

nope. she did NOT want to go. she cried, protested, and insisted she wear her footies instead of the real clothes she was already wearing. finally she calmed down and we were off.

nina was so excited to see us, and they both LOVED the shelter! there were 2 connected rooms full of cats that 30 kindergarteners could pet and play with to their hearts content. maggie had so much fun! she had a great big grin on her face and occasionally squealed with delight. it was a snowy, messy, cold morning, but i was glad we'd trucked out there (it's in edgecomb, about 20 minutes away).

then, when the kids got on the bus to go back to school, maggie wanted to go with them. poor kid! but she was still happy in when we got in the car. and then she melted down again. "remember, i TOLD you i didn't want to go to the animal shelter!" she said again and again. i didn't even try telling her that she had fun there, because that would just have made things worse. so for the whole ride home, maggie cried. there is just no winning with that child!!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

no post last night

because her royal highness, queen margarete, did not deign to go to bed until 10:30. she slept in late yesterday morning and then took a long, late nap, so we saw that one coming. fortunately, she just likes to read read read in the evening, so nick's protestations notwithstanding, she's a very easy child in the evenings.

but the big news is that we got nina's report card yesterday! ALL check pluses, which means "consistently" (as opposed to "sometimes" or "seldom"). displays a positive attitude--check plus! accepts/assumes responsibilites--check plus! respects authority--check plus! there's more but you get the drift. here is what mrs. mellor wrote in the comments section: nina is an enthusiastic student. she is a joy to have in class. she is a great role model for her classmates.

the report on her reading level is actually unclear, it says benchmark 6 under the space for the june entry, and nina's december is a 3. which would be fine, except that i know she started the year where they expect kids to be in june, so it doesn't really make sense. oh well, i could ask, but it doesn't really matter. though, it does seem like the report card is used for both K and 1st grade (because at the top it says "descriptors listed below represent skills that students work on developing throughout first grade). so, it would make sense that kids are expected to be at a 3 at the end of K, and a 6 at the end of first. though i suspect she's already reading at better than an entering 1st grade level. but maybe not! what's first grade level reading? when i was a kid, did we even read yet in first grade? well, doesn't matter!

the report cards from her music teacher, art teacher, and gym teacher are similarily wonderful. all check pluses, with notes about what a joy she is. 2 very proud parents at home!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

nina wants to be... artist!

last week it was a police officer. months before that, it was a doctor. but today, it's an artist. she told me this just before going to bed, so i didn't get to ask her if there's any kind of artist i particular she's thinking of (like, painter vs. sculptor or whatnot), but if she still wants to be an artist tomorrow, i'll try to find out what medium lights her fire these days.

yesterday, maggie was wearing her sleeping beauty dress (well, she was wearing it today too. it's the it item of clothing this week. hey, at least it's not footies!). she was modeling it for us, and said it "glitters like the night sky." what the heck! i did see the phrase "night sky" in a book, and she has the barbie and the fashion fairy tale book with the flairies glimmer, shimmmer, and shyne, but no one has put that phrase together for her, as far as i can tell. quite the little poet! even if she did hear the entire phrase somewhere, it obviously stuck with her, and she was still able to use it appropriately, which is still quite the accomplishment for a 2.5 year old.

an artist and a poet. hm, i'd better get a job!

(nick says, "bennington college, here we come!") (nick says bennington is very expensive, the most expensive in the US. i didn't know this)

Friday, December 10, 2010

nina is reading a book to maggie.

i feel like we've hit a major milestone. nina, reading to maggie. i'm off the hook!!!!

maggie loves when people read to her. she can sit with a stack of books and listen to stories for hours. and ever since maggie got so into books (when? i can't even remember. very early, only a few months old but i can't say exactly), anyway ever since whenever that was, i have dreamed of the day that one child could read to the other, and i could do nothing! hooray! dear sweet nina, taking over for mommy! she helps maggie with the potty too. if she could just take over putting her to sleep, i'd be totally free!

today mom and i took the girls to an indoor play place in brunswick. it was COLD today, 3 degrees farenheit when we woke up, so we let nina play hookey, and we all went to visit great grandma and get some indoor play. just too cold to be outdoors today! unfortunately, i had forgotten that the kids were going to get their first report cards today. what kind of mother lets her kid play hookey on report card day!! ooooh well, now we can be excited for monday.

still it was too much indoor time today, and the girls aren't all that tired. hence the reading time, which is already over, maggie is pretending to be chester. nina's still reading though, with nick's help. which she's needing a lot of now, it's a dr. seuss book with a bunch of made up words.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

dear maggie,

it is not cool for you to wake up at 7:30 am, not nap, and then not fall asleep until 9:00 pm. children are not allowed to require less sleep than their mothers, no matter how much sleep their mothers require. i hope that you read this one day and thank me for my sacrifice.

that child! she spent half of today running around naked pretending to be chester. i managed to convince her for a while that chester has fur, so she should wear this furry vest we have and some brown velor pants. it worked for a while. mom left while she was still dressed and said she was going to tell herself that maggie would wear the outfit all day, even though she knew full well that maggie'd be naked again in no time. and she was. she stamped her foot and said "no! chester has skin!!" amazingly, she stays warm. i think it's all that running around.

nina is much more reasonable (unless she gets overtired, in which case she just cries. but even then, it's just crying, she doesn't sit there stamping her foot and insisting on something ridiculous). she's becoming such a good reader! she was reading one of her barbie early readers over the phone to erik, it was very cute. mrs. mellor is still sending her home with books, and she just tears through them. i'm so happy for her! i can't wait until she's able to read all of the great children's books that i loved as a kid.

not much else to report. i'm still sick. i'll go to bed soon, it's just nice to stay up for a few minutes after the kids are asleep and just veg out.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

poor me, i am still sick

the girls seem better though. maggie ended up getting the cold, but her sinuses drain well, so nothing stagnates in there. nina and i suffer from mucous stagnation.

did i mention in the last post that maggie wore pants?! she wore them again on monday. today she wore the sleeping beauty dress with tights. good enough for me! she got a lot of compliments too, at the school when we picked up nina and at the grocery store. people kept telling her they liked her tutu (she was wearing her jacket over the dress, so it did look like a tutu. and she'd frown and say "no, it's my sempa beauty dress". for some reason she still says "sempa" instead of "sleeping."

well, i'm going to bed now, i was going to put up some more photos tonight but i didn't put maggie down until 9:30, so perhaps tomorrow.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

i'm siiiiiiiick

"i want this to be our tree," she said

"or this would be a good tree."

"how about this could be our christmas tree?"

"i'm going to grandma's!! don't follow me!!"

finally, nick and nina carrying the tree home.

poor me, i'm sick. it's just a head cold. poor nina too, who is also sick, and coughing in her sleep. she's ok during the day, but at night the mucous just builds and builds. i probably should have given her benadryl before bed. i hope she doesn't throw up. :-(

even though i was sick, nick and the girls and i went out and cut down a christmas tree today! i am attempting to download photos as i type. wait, upload photos? i think both, really. i am downloading them from my camera as i upload them to my laptop. so far it seems to be working, so i'll leave some space for them and continue on while i wait for the upload/download process to complete.

so, we got the tree. it really looks good. it comes from our own property! so, it's a little more sparse than a tree lot tree would be, but really it's got a fantastic shape and great fullness for a homegrown tree. wait till you see it!

it took us a while to get it up because it's not very big, and the stem is really thin, and it was bent until we cut the bent part off, but after about 4 hours it was up! wooot! the girls had a great time putting up ornaments. "this is fun!" said maggie. or something like that... decorating the tree is fun? i'm having fun? well, you get the drift. we were decorating the tree and she was having fun.

OH big news! she wore regular clothes today!!!!!!!!!!!!!! it's been since before halloween. that's right. she's only worn footie pajamas, day and nice, for a month and a half. and today she wore pants! nick did it. i've tried before and she's melted into a sobbing heap on the ground at the mere suggestion of pants, but today it worked. she looked so cute!

yesterday we took the girls to see the nutcracker ballet in portland. they loved it! they are familiar with the score because we have barbie and the nutcracker at home, and they've watched it a few times. we also watched the nutcracker scenes from fantasia the other day, and they liked that too. they were totally entranced, even maggie, which was not a given since she didn't nap. and yes, she wore footies to the ballet. good thing she's little enough that people just chuckle.

what else? hm... oh here are 2 funny funnies, one from each kid.

maggie, to oma: i want the pony "pizza dough" for christmas, but i'll accept any pony. (she made up pizza dough, there is no my little pony with that name)

nina, while peeling her hard-boiled egg: "oh, i have to peel away the dura." (she was at that membrane under the shell. i had to look it up, but technically only the membrane around the brain and spine is called the dura mater, dura for short. i don't know where she learned this, her anatomy books i guess!)
funny girls!!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

tryin' to upload some videos!

cross your fingers that it works!

well, i've tried uploading the toothbrushing video, and it has failed. sorry! so here's a bit about our day:

today nina played hookey from school. on wednesday night she had a bit of a sore throat, so i was on low alert for sickness. pretty much every other kid in her class is sick right now, so it's not unlikely. then this morning, nina was just too out to wake up at 6:30, so nick decided to let her sleep, thinking she might really need the rest if she was that impossible to wake up. then we all got out of bed at 7:30 and no one felt like driving her in. haha. ok that, and we're going to see the nutcracker on saturday, and we don't want her to be sick for it! so we figured that in case she's fighting something off, we'd let her rest. i think it was a good idea, she has a runny nose and needed to rest on the couch for about an hour today. plus it was fun!

we took the wagon and 2 5-gallon buckets up to our neighbor's farm. i call it a farm because she has 2 horses. one's a miniature horse, and maggie once called it mary-linda's "horse dog." haha!
why did we take 2 5-gallon buckets you're asking? for manure of course! best thing for a garden! i put it in the compost pile so it could decompose for a few months, then i'll add that lovely rich compost to the garden soil, and dammit i'll get a good harvest next year! those 2 new garden beds are gonna need a LOT of work (very sandy soil), but i'm hopeful...

we also fed the horses some apples, which the girls love. then, as we were leaving, maggie said "goodbye!! thank you for the poop!"

haha! too funny.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

to steal a title from last week, zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

that's me being tired. i didn't get to bed until after 11:00 last nigh because as soon as i tried to fall asleep, one of the kids would wake up. they know! they can sense the instant i drift off into wonderful dreamland, and they wake up. then they wake me up! oh dear children, if you ever care to read you old mom's blog when you're older, please appreciate all the sleep i lost by taking care of you at night. especially you maggie, miss i still prefer to wake mommy up 15 times a night to nurse. go show your appreciation by baking mom some brownies, and then cleaning up the kitchen.

speaking of cleaning the kitchen, the girls were painting the box their new bedroom chandelier came in (i'd promise a picture, but you know by now that it'd be an empty promise anyway, so i'll just drop the pretense). they were painting in the kitchen while i was cookin' up some noodles to go with our beef stew, and maggie decided to go and paint the fridge. thank goodness nina pays attention because i sure as heck didn't notice. yesterday our little dear came up to me and said:
"mama, can i paint on the wall?"
"no maggie," i said. "paint on paper only."
"ok mama," she said, and walked away.
then she came back with a big smile on her face.
"mama, i painted on the wall!!"

it was like, she wanted to double check that she wasn't supposed to do it before she did it anyway. painting on the wall is only fun if it's not allowed i guess.

nina never did that!!

tonight before bed nina sang us some christmas carols. i recorded them on the other computer. if i try to stay awake tonight to watch law and order, i'll upload them to youtube and then come back and post a link.

Monday, November 29, 2010

funny things

yesterday we were watching a national geographic special about the galapagos at mom and dad's house, and there was this sad part about a lizard that had to climb down this steep, dangerous slope to get to a place to lay her eggs. they showed the carcass of one lizard that didn't make it. (maggie talked a LOT about the lizards today. she was even pretending to be a lizard for a while. "not the one that fell. a similar one." processing the harsh realities of life and cruel nature i think). anyway, the program closed on a very upbeat note about the turtles, and maggie shouted with joy "it's a happy ending!!"

this evening before bed, she mimed brushing her teeth with a very big toothbrush, and it was hysterical. i tried taking a video. i know, promises promises, but i'll take a shorter one and upload it.

christmas list!

wow christmas is sneaking up on us!! today the girls and i made wreaths, and i must say they turned out wonderfully! it's a messy process, there were pine needles everywhere. we had lots of fun though. first we trimmed some branches from some pine trees around us. we collected a smattering of flat and friendly fir branches and short and spiky spruce. there wasn't any white pine within easy reach, so none of that. we also collected some pinecones. then we assembled our materials inside, got out some string and the wire hangers i'd bent into circles (i looked this tip up on the internet), and went to town. hopefully i'll get around to taking pictures, downloading them from the camera, and then uploading them to the blog. yeah, so you're never going to see them, but trust me that they're stunning, in a rustic, bent coathanger kind of way. :-)

where was i going with this... oh yes, christmas! so the holidays are upon us, here's what the girls are asking for these days.

her own my little pony
a diary with a lock
sweaters/sweatshirts (size 7. i know!! she's got really long arms, otherwise she'd be a six)
she's 45 inches tall and weighs 43 lbs

my little ponies
a belle dress (the yellow one that belle wears in beauty and the beast). this is what she asked santa for.
she's 37 inches tall and weighs 28 lbs. all she wears these days are footies (3T and some of nina's old 4Ts), but i'm expecting this footie phase to end any day now (as i've been expecting for the last month).

i know that's not a lot, the girls don't really ask for a lot. until we're in a store, at which point they ask for anything they see!

really, they love any kind of toy or game. they love playdough, this odd product called moon sand that charlie and hattie have, puzzles, toys of any kind. you can't go wrong with these kids.

Friday, November 26, 2010


i was hopeful that the girls would nap in the car since they both didn't sleep that well on tuesday night, but they didn't. still, the trip went fairly well, not much traffic at all, just one stop for bathroom and food. unremarkable.

we did try to stop at costco and there was some bruhaha over the costco being on the other side of a divided highway, so we didn't end up stopping. turns out there is a costco not 10 minutes from erik's house, so nick and i got to go sans children. much, much better.

after a lovely dinner of oven fried chicken, i tucked the girls into bed and the adults got to enjoy a nice evening of quiet conversation. haha! and if you believe that, i have a bridge to sell you! oooohh i'm a hoot. seriously though, nina fell asleep just fine but margarete wandered in and out of the bedroom, living room, and kitchen until more like 9:30. she'd napped for a whole half hour you know. good thing she's so cute. every time she wandered back in to the living room she'd say "surprise!!" cute. one time she said, "ta da!!" when she's not whining, crying, or licking the walls and windows, she's awfully cute. ("don't lick the ottoman!!" i told her. she took a tissue and wiped it. "ta-da!!" she announced).

and chester! the girls love that dog so much. nina made him a stuffed turkey toy for thanksgiving. i'm so proud of her. she planned and executed the whole thing almost totally by herself (i just helped with the sewing). first she cut 2 large hands out of fabric (about the size of a baseball mitt) and painted them to look like a turkey (brown mostly, with eyes and a waddle. the waddle is the red skin that hangs from the throat). next, i sewed the two halves together. i was going to flip them inside out after, to hide the seams, but she liked the seams out, she said they looked like feathers. they did! what a good eye she has! then she stuffed it by herself, i sewed the remaining opening, and it was done! she was so excited to give it to him. she didn't mind that he tore it up in minutes and pulled the stuffing out. she said it was his gift, and he could play with it as he liked.

back to check on the screeching with joy children. a turkey update to follow...

thanksgiving was great

but first, i'll talk about tuesday, because i haven't written since then. and you know it didn't actually happen if it doesn't get into the blog!

nina had school on tuesday and maggie and i picked her up at 2:30, got some takeout vietnamese food (mmmm!), went to the library to get some books and DVDs for the car, and chowed down as soon as we got home because the food smelled so good in the car.

poor tired little nina fell asleep before 6:00! a bad omen it turned out, she woke up at 8:00 with a fever of 104.3. oh no! nick got to the drug store before it closed to get the poor little child chewable tylenol, since she really hates the syrup. it helped a little, her fever went down to about 102.5 within 2 hours. tylenol isn't great for the high fevers, but they didn't have any children's chewable motrin, so tylenol it was.

maggie was in high spirits and didn't fall asleep on tuesday night until 10:00. nina dozed on the couch for an hour or two but was essentially out for the night. you'd think a sick girl would sleep until at least 6 am, even if she fell asleep at 5:45, right?

no! she was up at 4:15, ready to go! i was happy she felt much better (fever was still around 101), but she was happy as a lark. maggie slept until 6, of course, since she went to bed at 10. lucky lucky us!!

still, we piled into the car at about 9 am on wednesday and headed out to boston! yippee!! mom came with us so i drove in the back seat. maggie needs me, more later...

Monday, November 22, 2010


i'm writing now at 7:30 because if i wait until maggie's in bed like i usually do, i won't write at all. i'm pretty sure i'll be asleep before she is tonight! it's been a dreary day, and i didn't sleep especially well last night (not that i ever do, but i had to get out of bed around 2:30 to hunt for pony downstairs. i usually make sure i take it upstairs with her, but i guess i forgot last night. fortunately she wasn't hidden and i found her relatively quickly. fast enough that maggie didn't get hysterical anyway. then there was the typical maggie wakes up, nina wakes up, maggie wakes up again, someone goes to the bathroom, then someone else decides to go, then everyone goes because we're all up anyway, then hunt for pony, then non-stop nursing). it's amazing i ever feel rested!

i did indulge maggie in some non-stop nursing overnight though because she'd gotten a little constipated. i think having the diarrhea knocked her system out of whack, because the constipation followed that. anyway, i wanted her to get the extra fluids overnight to go with the juice and raisins i'd given her yesterday. and it worked, she pooped in the morning pretty easily. that's it for poop updates, i promise.

i'm also tired because of the super busy weekend we had! it started on saturday with the early bird sale in town. mom and i went together at 8 and nick joined us with the kids at 9-ish. i got some good deals!! the food at the stores isn't anything close to what it used to be though, and we didn't win one door prize! outrageous. however, they've added a pajama parade (which i didn't see because i was tutoring) but nick says the girls loved it. there were even some dogs in their pajamas. what a hoot! then there were bed races, which we also missed because we were at the.....

frozen turkey hunt at the botanical gardens! our streak of poor luck continued, and we didn't find one prize apple. bianca and john gave us an extra one of theirs though, which at the time i thought was so nice, but it turned out that they'd found the GOLDEN apple, worth 150 gallons of oil, so they had excess to share. we didn't get a frozen turkey either, but we did get a pumpkin pie kit and some popped corn on the cob. not bad, and the kids had fun looking for the apples hidden in the children's garden.

next it was home for a nap for maggie, then out again to go to the grand opening of our friends' store! they had a bounce house, hot dogs, coffee (we needed it by then!), and all kinds of other stuff. what fun! but boy were we exhausted.

sunday we went to church and sunday school, then we lazed around the house with mom and dad, and today was back to the old routine. the girls are so excited to go to boston for thanksgiving!

Friday, November 19, 2010

the week in review

not much to report, just a typical week here at the halter house. on wednesday i had a math team meeting and since beth couldn't watch the girls like she usually does, nick took them to the Y and they ran on the track and played in the gym. math team is going great though! i'm having a really good time. i was worried at first that maybe i'd forgotten so much that the math would be too hard, but fortunately, i can handle most of it. most! not all though, there are some things that i've forgotten (like, how to find the interior angle measure of a regular polygon. but now i know!).

on thursday maggie and i picked up nina at school and then the three of us went to the fish playground. it was a nice day so we wanted to get out and enjoy it! nice until the sun went down that is (that's at what, 3:30 these days? haha, kidding, but barely). as soon as the sun went below the tree line (that really did happen at 3:30) we skedaddled over to the ebb tide for some fried shrimp and french fries. then we picked up a gift for the girls' friend ariel, because she had a birthday party that evening at 6. her mom cooked some amazing phillipino food and we all had a very fun time.

today was another fairly ordinary day. maggie and i stayed in because it was cold, then we picked up nina at the bus stop and went visit their friends charlie and hattie.

so like i said, just a regular week! maggie is still wearing footie pajamas only. oh wait, i take that back, she wore her tinkerbelle costume to ariel's party. she wanted to dress up! it was too cute. she even put on a jacket! she wore one again today. she fought it at first, but then she gave in. it's cold!! the computer says it's 26 right now. winter's just around the corner!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

what a cutie ballerina!

ok, yes, the skirt is a little big, but it stayed on. isn't she so cute?

she started ballet class in october. the first class she did GREAT. she loved it! the second class was mayhem. it's a really young class, though maggie is the youngest (by 6 months now, but only by 3 in october, one girl dropped out. quitter!!) it's hard for a group of 2 and barely 3 year olds to keep it together for a class, and when one of them stops listening, the rest fall like dominoes. then the third class went well again, the fourth not so much, and the fifth on has been smooth sailing. it finally gelled for the girls i guess.

i even got to leave last week, and maggie didn't mind at all! but unfortunately today she cried while i was gone. i felt awful! it was just for a minute i was told, and when i came in she was as happy as a clam. or ballerina. then when she saw me she ran over, crying. she must have been pretty upset even though it was quick because she did her breathing thing, the little jagged sobs. but she was also tired, the class is an hour and ends at 11:15, and that's too close to nap time i think. oh well, i'll just stay next time.

nina's on a dance break right now by the way. she said she didn't like being away from me even more. i think it's just part of adjusting to kindergarten, maybe she'll start again for the next session. or next year, she's only 5.

it was a great to have oma visiting!

we all had a wonderful time, especially the girls! maggie is young enough that i'm still not sure how she's going to react, but she was so excited to see her. i guess that shouldn't surprise me, the weekly video chats really do a lot keep the girls close with their austrian grandparents. the wonders of technology! we're very lucky. and nina of course is old enough that she doesn't need weekly chats to remember oma and opa, and she was equally thrilled to have her here. poor oma got woken up every morning though! it was nice to see maggie cuddle up next to oma too, because maggie isn't the most physically affectionate kid. sometimes she'll look like she's going to give grandma or someone a hug, and then she'll back away at the last minute, like she's changed her mind. she's a very funny child.

nina stayed home from school on the day oma arrived and on the day she left, to maximize her oma time. and that's fine by us, school is going well, but it's not like she's learning that much that she'll miss out by not being there.

we built a truly fantastic leaf pile over the course of a few days, and i took pictures, but i haven't gotten around to downloading them yet. but i will, and then i'll put them here (not on facebook, because we're wearing the funny bright green hats i made for everyone to wear during hunting season, and it's kind of embarrassing). ("mom, you're embarrassing!" nina said to me, followed quickly by, "what does embarrassing mean?" that one was a little hard to explain, so i fumbled a bit and said something like, "it means that i make you feel bad around other people because you wish i wouldn't do the things i do in front of them." "oh," she said, "you're not embarrassing then." woo hoo! i'm still not embarrassing! she should be embarrassed by my inability to define the word well. ( does it well: to cause confusion and shame to; make uncomfortably self-conscious; disconcert; abash: His bad table manners embarrassed her. did you know about these alternate definitions? 2) to make difficult or intricate, as a question or problem; complicate. 3) to put obstacles or difficulties in the way of; impede: The motion was advanced in order to embarrass the progress of the bill. 4) to beset with financial difficulties; burden with debt: The decline in sales embarrassed the company.) who would have thought my blog could suddenly turn educational? maybe one day, when one of you is doing a crossword, you'll need one of these secondary definitions of embarrass, and you'll think of me.

well, that's it, i can't think of anything else. i am renewing my resolve to blog more regularly (it seems like i do that every other week these days). and to put up more pictures. in fact, i have 15 minutes before law and order: los angelas, so i'll be right back with another post and picture!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

a lovely warm day + a lovely dinner out

the girls are so good at restaurants these days. boy is that nice! ok, nina's been good for a while, it's maggie who's really gotten better. it's such a pleasure to know she'll sit happily through the meal, color while she waits for her food, and then chow down on her french fries and lemonade while the rest of us eat a leisurely meal. it's been 2.5 years since i've enjoyed a meal out so much!

of course, maggie went to dinner (we were at mr. c's with mom and dad and anne) in her new pink footie pajamas, since that's still all she'll wear. ("why are you wearing your pajamas to the restaurant?" nina asked maggie. "because i'm 2," maggie replied.) at one point, after the other table handed the waitress their payment, she asked them "do you need any change?" and maggie responded, loudly, "yeah i want some change!" the people the other table had a good laugh, and i heard one woman, who we know from church, tell the others that she knows maggie from church, and she's quite a sharp little girl. aww, it's true of course!

nina was far too tired to muster up some dinner conversation. the poor girl was half-asleep in her chair. we'd had a big day outside since it was so, so warm (the clock in town said 66). we played in the huge leaf pile we made for hours, played on the swingset, worked in the garden, and even did a late afternoon fire pit (because once the sun dipped below the trees it started to get chilly. you know, at like 3:00). all that before going out to dinner was a lot for one little kid.

and ahhh, the garden! nick and i have dug 2 new beds for next year, and today we mixed in some mulched leaves and grass (dad mowed up his lawn with the leaves, so it made a great leaf/grass mix). the difference in the soil between the "old" garden and the new spot is remarkable. the new space is mostly sandy dirt with some clayish spots. the old spot is darker, crumblier, and full of worms. much higher quality! it made me feel good, like i've really made some progress improving the soil. i'd really, really like to get some manure in the ground before it freezes, but we'll see. it's so stinky to transport. yup, for the first time since the growing season ended, i actually missed my gardening a bit! just a bit mind you. but i'm sure by the end of winter next year i'll be anxious to get my seedlings going.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

oma is here!

the girls were so excited to see her. they waited up on tuesday night, and nina ended up staying home on wednesday because she was too excited to hang out with oma. today was no school on account of veterans' day, so that worked out. i think she'll be ready to go back tomorrow, just for a day.

the girls have been especially adorable lately. maggie keeps telling me that she loves me, which is just music to a mom's ears! she also loves her whole family, for the record. maybe chester most of all. she talks about that dog every day!

and tonight, as nina lay in bed, falling asleep, she said to nick, "sigh, i can't fall asleep. i need lunesta!"


Monday, November 8, 2010

nick and i got to go out

we saw rustic overtones at the opera house. it was so fun! mom and dad watched the girls, and they did great. nina was especially excited to have a night alone with them, she even kicked us out of their house before we needed to go.

we happened to see mike and karen there, and they invited the 4 of us over for dinner on sunday, so we ended up having a very social weekend. which was nice, because it's started to get cold! sunday was cold and windy, and sunday night we ended up having a much stronger storm than we were expecting. i read online that portland jetport recorded a max wind gust of 63 mph! the wind was coming from the north east (did that make it a nor'easter, or is snow a requirement for that?), and since my bedroom is in the north east corner of the house, it was pretty loud. the girls room stayed nice and quiet though, and at least nina slept well. wow, as i type this, the weather channel is reporting on the storm! maine made the big time news! the woman says wind and rain are expected to continue through tomorrow. well today was mild, we even got a bit of sun, so maybe not for us.

not much else going on. maggie tried 2 times to poop this morning but it was just gas. the second time she didn't poop after thinking she might have to, she ran into the kitchen where nick was standing and yelled "nothing!! came out of my butt!!!" haha, it was funny. oh, and nick came home from basketball while she was in the tub, and she was so excited to see him that she stood up and did a wiggle dance. too cute!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

you've all heard of hannah montanna, right?

she's like a kiddy pop star. i think she sings. one of nina's friends had her poster in her room, and after playing there the girls have talked about her occasionally. only maggie calls her "hannah futannah," which is so cute. reminds me of rosanna danna danna!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

margarete, the difficult child: addendum

nick reminded me of this one.

during one of her wailing on the floor tantrums, i remarked, "it's difficult being two."

"NO!" she yelled. "it's NOT difficult being two!"

see? no matter what i say i'm wrong. there's just no reasoning with a two-year-old.

finally over this bug

wow, that was a difficult week! first maggie throwing up, then nina. at least nina could tell us when it was coming and make it to the bathroom (except for the first time. maggie now calls the blue blanket that caught the bulk of it "the throw up blanket.") still, i was doing 2 or 3 loads of laundry a day for a while. speaking of which, i forgot to throw the sheets in today, and margarete peed on them last night. my sheets of course. and what wasn't on the bed? the waterproof mattress pad! it's always on the bed, but i had to wash it this week (guess why? vomit, in case you were thinking pee), and because it's plastic-backed, i can't put it in the dryer. so i remade the bed without it, and didn't want to bother to strip the bed to put it back on, and lo and behold... kids!

where was i going with all this? oh, they're better. maggie got diarrhea after the vomiting, but it was mild. nick felt nauseous for a few days and didn't eat like his usual self, but i didn't get anything. i may have a terrible immune system when it comes to fighting off a head cold, but nothing disturbs my stomach.

so, to wrap up on last week:
1) my job. it's not a big job, just a little one. i'm going to teach an SAT class at the high school. just one day a week for an hour and a half, but it'll be fun. i like working with the kids, and it keeps my brain sharp. i'll start in january.

2) nina's checkup went very well. it turned into a sick visit for maggie too, since she'd been throwing up for a while and her tummy really hurt, and she was going to be there anyway. but dr. feder said it was just a stomach virus, and so it was. nina is growing wonderfully. she's still around the 85th to 90th percentile for height, so i guess she's just gonna be tall. which is funny, since nick and i are both perfectly average height. maggie's tall too. well, i guess the tall genes won out.
she also got the last 2 shots for kindergarten. she was so brave, as a treat we had dinner at the ebb tide. no one threw up that night!

3) one funny little anecdote from last week: nina had drawn some pumpkins on the chalkboard one day, and while she was at school maggie had erased them. when nina saw that her pumpkins had been erased, she got annoyed. she put her hands on her hips, looked at maggie and said, "maggie, do you see where my hands are?" haha!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

margarete is a difficult child!

nina never experienced the terrible twos. quite the contrary, two was a delight. she was fun, funny, happy, easy-going--in short, a joy to be around. while maggie is also a joy, she can be quite the challenge. lately, she's thrown herself to the ground crying 10 or 20 times a day. there's no warning either; i'll do something as seemingly innocuous as ask her majesty if she'd like a pretzel, and she'll collapse onto the ground in a sobbing heap, "NOOOOO!!" we find ourselves constantly saying something along the lines of "that's fine maggie, but you can just tell us instead of getting all hysterical about it."

and then, there are the issues over which she has dug herself in. first, it was not wearing shoes. "you can carry me," she tells us. it started in the summer, so i said fine, don't wear shoes. she said her shoes were uncomfortable, which is possible, as her toenails have this strange growth pattern of kind of flaring out, and breaking a lot. i get broken big toenails a lot too, so i have empathy. and to be fair, she is beginning to get over this one. she likes her rubber boots, and she usually will wear those.
she also has rejected pants. but fine, she has a thousand dresses, i don't care if that's what she wants. she'll gladly wear tights under them , but not a shirt. she doesn't care for the layered look. i have, however, found out that if i put a shirt inside the dress before i put it on her, she will think it's all one piece and wear it as such. so, not really a huge deal.
but then it was coats. she refuses to wear a coat! for a few days i got her to wear a poncho i'd made from a fleece blanket, but that didn't last. now it's starting to get cold, and she has agreed to put on a jacket when it's been under 50, but not for short trips between buildings. and not in the car. which, again, i let go because they actually say you're not supposed to buckle them in with winter coats on, since the straps can't get tight enough and were there to be an accident, the kids can actually slip out. so the "good parent" thing to do is to buckle them in without coats and then put a coat or blanket on top of them. so how can i push this one knowing her way is the safest way? well, i can pretend that i'm a superior mommy, following safety instructions to the letter because i'm so amazingly wonderful. yeah, that's totally it!
but NEXT came the pajamas obsession. she only wants to wear pajamas! oh how i long for the days of dresses. but, she's 2. does it really matter if she wears pajamas? footies with pink rubber boots over them? and a blanket on top? does anyone notice or care? maybe if nick didn't wear pajamas all day, she wouldn't have gotten the idea in the first place.

well, yesterday i convinced her that an adorable velour track suit was pajamas, and she wore that. and today she dressed up in a tutu, tights, and a "topping" (that's a leotard) for dance class. boy was she adorable!! at home she promptly changed back into PJs for her nap, but she's been changing to nap for a while. ohh the difficult ways of margarete.

and did i remember to write about the swimming pool in arizona? for a few days before we left, we were all talking about how exciting it would be to go swimming outside again. maggie nonchalantly commented that she'd be swimming naked. when i told her that you can't swim naked in hotel pools, she'd immediately throw herself to the ground and cry "yes i can!! yes i can swim naked!!" finally i said, "well, we'll ask at the hotel and see what they say."

sure enough, she didn't forget about swimming naked, and when we got to the hotel started talking about it again. so i took her down to the front desk and told her she could ask. and she did! in her cute little voice, "can i swim naked in the pool?" behind maggie's back, i shook my head no. the woman at the front desk caught right on and said, "oh, no, i'm sorry. it's a public pool so you have to wear a suit." "oh," said maggie. "maybe i can wear just my shirt." "no," said the woman, "you have to wear bottoms. you can wear just bottoms, that would be ok." it worked! maggie was satisfied and happily wore a regular swimsuit. success at last!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

i can't believe i'm still trying to finish writing about our trip

alright, the fast version: on saturday morning we drove up mt. lemmon with erik and isabelle. it was awesome! the view from the top was amazing. you could see the entire city of tucson surrounded by mountains. i think it was my favorite adventure of the whole trip.
then after lunch (burritos, mm....) we got ready for the wedding! the wedding was a blast. great food, bottomless margaritas, dancing, family... a wonderful time. not one thing to complain about.

unfortunately, we had to get up at 3:45 on sunday morning. our flight left tucson airport at 6 am, but it was ok. we were surprisingly awake. the girls did a fantastic job as usual, and the flights were uneventful. maggie insisted on wearing her pajamas and no shoes, and i didn't want to fight, so i let her. at first i felt like a bad mom, but then i noticed that EVERY OTHER kid under 3 was in pjs! and then i felt like everyone would think all the moms were doing this on purpose now (maybe they were, i probably missed some article in some parenting magazine about leaving your baby in PJs to fly so they're nice and comfy). so there you go, i went from being slightly embarrassed to feeling superior. haha!

whew! caught up!! now i just have to catch up on everything i missed writing about while i was writing about tucson. there was a LOT, too. first ever parent teacher conference, i got a job, the girls were sick, a doctor's appointment. well, let's go in chronological order. maggie got sick:

on monday, we let nina sleep in instead of waking her up bright (i mean, dark) and early for school. so we didn't end up getting there until 9:30 or 10:00. but, better a chipper late child than a dragging, cranky timely one, i thought. then i went home and did laundry. but not sheets! i had put fresh sheets on the beds just before we left, so i would have one less thing to do when we got home. poor choice, it turned out.

on tuesday morning, nina was off to school on time. shortly after she and nick left, maggie woke up. then she threw up, all over the bed. totally out of nowhere. well, not totally, she'd talked about having a tummy ache the day before at dinner, but i thought it was probably just left over travel tummy. the poor little girl continued to throw up hourly until noon, whereupon she slept for a few hours, and woke up feeling just fine!

i was glad she woke up feeling fine, because i had a parent-teacher conference with nina's teacher. that was wonderful! nina is a great student and very well behaved. all of the kindergarten screening was done over the first few weeks of school, and they determined that nina already knows everything they hope to teach in kindergarten. we knew this, but figured we'd see what the school thought about nina before telling them about her, and figure out a plan from there. she's actually beyond what they want kids doing by the end of K, which is reading and writing 20 or 50 (can't remember) sight words. she's reading all kinds of words, but her teacher is going to start separating nina from the rest of the class during reading time and working with her independently. so, that should be fun for nina. she's been learning to read for a really long time now (i remember her reading her first words before maggie was born, and reading 3-letter words easily at 3.5. by this summer, she was reading longer words and starting to fill in the common but odd short words like they and their). so, i wouldn't be surprised to hear she's reading on more of a first or second grade level, but as long as they're working with her at her level and she's enjoying herself, i'm happy.

ok, bedtime. the resolutions of maggie's illness and the lowdown on nina's checkup after the kids are asleep!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

tucson, continued...

maggie woke up last night as i finished my post, and i fell asleep putting her back to bed, so that ended that. but now it's thursday night and both girls are asleep (and i have so much to catch up on!), and nick's off to guitar lessons, so it's catch-up time again.

ok then, friday: another wonderfully busy day. we went to the colossal caves in the morning. pictures again:

oops, they're on the other laptop. i'll add them later if i remember and if no one wakes up before i forget. so yeah, you'll never see them. haha! anyway, they're on facebook, so probably nothing new.

the cave was really, really neat. a group of...what was it, 18?... of us entered the entry chamber. it was small and dark. the guide talked about the cave for a few minutes while our eyes adjusted to the dark. maggie didn't last that long though, she wanted to get out almost immediately. her voice had that frantic edge it gets when she's really scared, so we didn't try to convince her to stay. mom, having seen caves before (seen one, seen 'em all!), volunteered to hang out outside with her. so then there were 16.

nina was already expressing her reservations, but we convinced her to press on a bit. she also thought the cave was pretty cool, and wasn't panicked, just a bit nervous. however, poor uncle lee hit his head, and already wasn't enjoying the cave experience that much, so he left. 15. then wyatt started really crying (he couldn't crawl or walk in the cave, so obviously he wanted nothing to do with it!!), and vanessa took him out. 13!

a little deeper in, nina had had enough. i took her out, and aunt maria volunteered to go with us. she said she didn't mind, the cave was starting to look all the same. which was true. so, down to 10. from our group, that just left nick, joseph, erik and isabelle, micah, and dad. fortunately, they took more pictures, so we got to see what we missed.

from there, we drove to a little food stand (they called it a "cafe" but it really wasn't a cafe by east coast standards). doesn't matter though, the burritos were excellent! we walked around the area a bit more (cacti, and a turtle).

finally, we drove back to the hotel and took the girls swimming and hot tubbing. they'd been waiting for that for weeks!

after our relaxing swim, we got dressed for the rehearsal dinner. everything was going fine until maggie freaked out. she cried and cried, and demanded i put her pajamas back on, and put mine on as well. i took her out to where everyone was having cocktails and appetizers, hoping that would calm her down. no such luck. she just kept crying and telling me to put on my pajamas. i took her back to the room but she didn't even want to nurse. finally, she said "don't leave me!!" and i realized what was going on. she thought nick and i were going out to the rehearsal dinner without her because i was wearing the same dress that i wore out with nick back in may. may!! that was why she wanted me to change into my pajamas. so i explained to her that we were all going out together, i wasn't going to leave her, and then she calmed down. man, that girl has a memory. she often talks about things like christmas that i wouldn't think a kid her age could remember.

once we got there, the rehearsal dinner was great. the food was amazing (mexican, even flan for dessert), and it was nice to have all the family in one place.

well then, i started this hours ago, maggie woke up and took a long time to fall back asleep. she was cuddling with me here in the family room for a bit when she saw a small cobweb up on the ceiling. she asked what it was and i told her. then she covered her eyes and asked to go in the other room. i thought she meant the lights were too bright in here or something, so i turned them off. but she kept her hands over her eyes and said "is it still there?" i didn't know what she was talking about at first, then she said, "the spider." the poor kid is so afraid of spiders! she didn't uncover her eyes until we were in the living room. aww!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

thursday: sabino canyon

after checking out a little park near my cousin jen's house, and then chilling at her house for a bit and hitting up some in and out burger for lunch, we renedzvoued with vanessa, micah, and wyatt, and headed off to sabino canyon.

a picture is worth a thousand words they say, so here are some pictures:

(in this last picture, i'm reading barbie, a fashion fairy tale, to the girls. it's even worse than barbie: a mermaid tale. in the fashion fairy tale, barbie gets help from 3 flairies (they're like fairies, only they give things flair. really) named glimmer, shimmer, and shyne (ugh). the book is filled with gag-inducing platitutes like "magic happens when you believe in yourself!!")

sabino canyon is in the mountains that surround tuscon. they're really beautiful, the mountains. anyway, there's a shuttle that takes you 2 or 3 miles into the canyon, and it makes 9 stops. you can get on or off the shuttle anywhere along the road, so you can do a nice mix of hiking and driving. we drove to the turn around spot, and then hiked for maybe a half mile, to the next shuttle spot. i guess i can't really call it hiking since we were just walking on a paved road.

anyway, it was very beautiful. nina has so much energy and had no trouble keeping up, and maggie fell asleep on the shuttle ride in. she napped in my arms for maybe a half an hour total, and then enjoyed the walk with us. this was, fortunately, a day she agreed to wear shoes without any struggle. the rest of the week would not go so smoothly...

after our trip through the canyon we indulged in the complimentary cocktails and hors d'oevures at the hotel. the girls were exhausted so we decided to stay in instead of heading out to dinner. after a family dip in the hot tub, i crashed (it was like, 7:30, but i was exhausted!!). nick tells me that the girls went to bed soon after me.

alright, the beginning of tuscon back-blogging

our travels started on tuesday evening. we drove to erik and isabelle's even though our flight wasn't until 4 on wednesday. we wanted to spend a little extra time with isabelle and chester, and not have to spend all of wednesday in the plane and car.

the girls had a wonderful time with their dog-cousin, as always. a few pictures:

on wednesday morning i tried to take the girls to the playground in nearby sharon MA, but about 3 minutes into the drive there, maggie realized that she didn't have pony with her.

i tried to convince her that she didn't need pony, but that went nowhere. by the time we got back to erik's and found pony (i'd tucked her into the suitcase so that chester didn't get her), maggie needed to nurse to calm down, then promptly fell asleep. so much for the playground!

we got out in a timely fashion, and drove with isabelle to the airport. we got a DVD player for the car and the girls watched barbie: a mermaid tale (which is terrible. really, really horrific) for the third time. the flights were long but i don't remember anything, so i guess it couldn't have been that bad. the girls napped at the end, cousin joseph turned out to be on the second leg, and we arrived at the hotel at about 9:30 local time. we all konked out pretty quickly and slept fitfully until the bright and cheery hour of 6 am. actually i think we were up around 5:30 that first morning. jet lag!

in between endless loads of laundry

a quick update!

poor little maggie has been sick since yesterday morning, when she woke up at 7:30 and promptly threw up on the bed. good thing i'd just put clean sheets on the bed before we left for arizona. not! (haha, how come no one says that anymore?!). she threw up a few more times, then took a long nap and seemed much better. unfortunately, she started throwing up again at about 11 last night, and continued throughout the night. knock on wood, but so far 5 am was her last vomit. i'll update later, right now she's stirring.

Friday, October 22, 2010

arizona is beautiful

all's well, having a wonderful time. many photos to come!

the girls are having fun, even though they're stuck with their incompetent parents. this was nina, on my packing:

i only have 2 dresses? are you kidding me?

off to some caves!

Monday, October 18, 2010

halloween costumes

we are working furiously here to get everyone's halloween costumes ready (by "we" i of course mean "i"). nina is going to be snow white, which wasn't so much work this week because i sewed the dress back in august as you may remember. but i just got the red cape done this week (does anyone besides me even know that snow white wears a red cape? she does, in the scene where the hunter tries to kill her and she escapes into the woods). nina also really wants a red headband with a bow (that's my girl, an eye for the details!), so i'll make that next week. then she's done.

maggie's costume is starting to come together too. she's going to be ming-ming, from the wonder pets. ming-ming is a duckling, and we already have a yellow feathered caplet from anna. i got some green fabric to make her cape, and then she just needs ming-ming's pilot's hat with goggles. i found some goggles at mom's house, but i'm still not 100% sure how to do the pilot's hat. it has to be authentic enough for maggie to wear it. well, hopefull she'll wear the costume at all, but i think she will. we even have a duck bill for her to wear (it came with anna's feathered caplet), but maggie has repeatedly pointed out that ming-ming's bill is pink, not yellow, so i don't know if she'll wear it.

backup plan is that she can also be snow white if she so desires. in fact, since there are no fewer than 3--and up to 5, if we feel ambitious--separate halloween special events, the girls can wear multiple costumes.

nick refuses to dress up, as usual. i'll probably wear my witch's hat, as usual. maybe i'll mix it up and pretend to be the evil queen from snow white, dressed up as the old hag. all i'd need is a big stick for a staff, a poison apple, some powder in my hair, and lots of black. yeah, i think i could pull that off!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

pumpkin party

we had a great time at the pumpkin party. as the girls' friends nora and iris were leaving, maggie said, "thank you for halloween!" which was extra cute because nora and iris didn't host the party, they were just guests. but maggie did thank mrs. moss for halloween, and it was adorable.

we walked there too! acutally, nick pushed maggie in the jogging stroller and nina and i walked. it's about 1.4 miles each way, and she did the whole trip there and almost the whole way back. it didn't make her tired enough to stop jumping around for even a minute, we are so blessed to have such a high-energy child (sigh...)

speaking of blessed, our sunday school craft was to make prayer books. there was a space to write down your worries, ("this is a worry i have," it says. "please help me feel better." aww!) this is what nina wrote, entirely on her own (not any spelling help at all):
"going into mi rom by miself and the bouilr (boiler)"
maggie dictated "a monster," "a bug," "a dark face," and "a bee." the dark face thing is because there was a picture of a musician named rob zombie on the cover of Go magazine, and he had his face all painted up scary (for halloween? or is it like that all the time?). anyway, no one had noticed it, but maggie did and she got really scared. poor maggie! she's at an age where fears are really developing, though she's been afraid of bugs for a long time (remember the bronx zoo episode, when she freaked out at the cockroach exhibit? that was so sad! and of course more recently, with the giant halloween decoration spider at the apple orchard).

Saturday, October 16, 2010

what the heck, one more post today

when it rains, it pours, eh? speaking of which, boy did we get some rain yesterday! a regular old nor'easter. lots and lots of wind, sheets of rain... it was a good thing nina stayed home because nick and i weren't interested in going out in that!

we went out for dinner tonight, and the girls were fantastic. were the stars just aligned properly, or are they old enough to start doing dinner out again? i think it might be the latter, because maggie was really the one holding us back, and she sat so patiently. hopefully jenny's wedding will go so smoothly too. if it does, we might really get to enjoy our dinner and have a good time!

earlier today, nina had done something wonderful or sweet for maggie (how awful that i can't remember, but she's such a good, patient big sister that this stuff is just the norm. even when maggie is grabbing toys from her, or shrieking for no apparent reason, or trying to pull me away from nina so she can have me to herself, nina is so patient. she may cry or get upset when it's really bad, but never once has she laid a hand on maggie (maggie sometimes hits or pushes too). such a little angel). anyway, i had said "oh nina, you're such a good sister to maggie, she's so lucky to have you," and nina responded, "yes, and fashionable too!" it was so cute! she was wearing a cute, short blue corduroy dress with striped knee socks, and she did look very fashionable. but it always sounds cuter coming from a 5 year old!

while we were at china by the sea tonight, maggie had to go to the bathroom (twice). on the way the first time, she noticed the lights over the tables, which to her looked a bit like pumpkins. "oh!" she said, "halloween lights!!"

whew, tomorrow's another busy day so bed time for me!

whenever the posting slows down like this, it's one of 2 things

sick or super busy. unfortunately, this week it was sick. nina missed school on thursday and friday because she had a fever. poor kid looked awful on tuesday late morning/early afternoon. but then after some tylenol (fever got up to 102.5 and she was really looking awful so i gave it. i don't like to give tylenol unless her fever is really bothering her, for 2 reasons: i figure the fever might have a purpose, and more importantly, tylenol makes her feel so much better that she stops resting, which i fear could undermine her recovery. but when the fever makes her so uncomfortable that she can't rest well either, i give it). anyway, after tylenol and a nap, she seemed much, much better. but the fever came back, albeit not as high, in the evening and overnight, and she was still in the high 90s/low 100s on friday morning, so it was home again. then the poor girl threw up! but, she got steadily better throughout the day, and this morning was her usual hyperactive self. nice to have the old nina back!

maggie was delighted that nina was home though. she didn't nap either day, and the girls spent a lot of time playing computer games together. maggie can't use the mouse by herself yet (it's not the mouse anyway, it's the finger pad on the laptop), so she was thrilled to have nina do it for her. and i didn't mind, nina needed to rest, so it kept them both happy.

still, there was time for cute. maggie hit her head on the corner of our kitchen counter, and this morning nina made a big red STOP sign for that corner, to protect maggie. so cute!
she also has declared that her name is spelled N-E-E-N-A, and has made a nametag.

now we have to run for a party, so more later!!

i missed my blogiversary!

the 14th was my 2 year blogiversary and i missed it! well, better to be commemorated late than never, right? but how to commemorate? it would be nice if i put up a video or something, maybe the kids singing happy blogiversary to me, but i don't have time. we're getting ready for a birthday party and dump run (big times in a little town!). so i will have to settle for just noting the occasion, and patting myself on the back for keeping it going (a little less frequently than i'd like lately) for this long. truly, this collection of stories about the girls' early childhoods is one of my prize possessions. i hope that one day the girls enjoy reading it as much as i've enjoyed writing it.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

dance school this morning

hopefully it will go better than last week! last week they all acted like a bunch of 2 year olds! well, today is the make or break day for maggie. if she'll be able to participate in the class, i'll re-register her. otherwise maybe i'll try again in january or next year. she's still pretty little!

maggie by the way is becoming a bottle addict. it was clear that she wasn't going to give up nursing without about a year of struggles and crying, so i'm switching tactics and giving her a bottle. so far she's very happy with it. she mostly likes carrying it around and chewing on it, but she's also slowly drinking. whatever makes her happy and gives me a break!

nina is our course off at school this morning. getting her out of bed in the morning is getting tougher, i'm going to try making bedtime earlier again. i had thought she would be falling asleep by 7:30, but she was lying awake in bed for half an hour, so bedtime has been 8. she was asleep before 8 last night, though, so maybe now the new school schedule is beginning to set in and the earlier bedtime will work. if only i could get maggie to bed before 9:30, then maybe i'd have time to write in the blog at night like i used to!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

another year, another damariscotta pumpkin festival

boy is that fun though. those pumpkins are just huge! the winner (also a new state of maine record) weighed 1,471 pounds. one THOUSAND, four HUNDRED, and seventy-one! it was almost the size of a smart car! they're not pretty looking though, they get all flattened on the bottom, and the rinds look deflated and wrinkly. not round and plump like regular pumpkins. so, big, but not about to win any beauty pageants. haha!

we started our pumpkinfest fun with a pumpkin pancake breakfast at the damariscotta VFW hall. mmmm, pumpkin pancakes! then we did the kid stuff (actually, nick did the kid stuff with the kids while i went to rising tide and shopped their bulk grain bins. oh how i love those bulk grain bins!). finally, we watched the pumpkin regatta (wherein they actually hollow out pumpkins, get inside, and either paddle or attach an outboard, and race! mainers, what a bunch of loons!

yesterday was also a fun day--fall foliage festival at the railway village. the fall foliage is really festive this year. lots of pretty colors. oh and you'll never believe this (nina has picked up this expression from me, and it sounds SO cute when she says it!), but we actually had some purple leaves along the path from our house to mom and dad's (not the short "highway" between the two houses, but the waterfront trail). and not just purple maple purple either. these were a lilac! dad tried getting a picture, i'll have to check and see if it turned out well enough to post. really something though, i've never seen a purple like that before!

oh, so the fall foliage festival was at the railway village as always, and the girls wanted to sit on the tractors. there's one orange one that you drive standing up, there's no seat (of course, that's pretend to drive for the kids, the tractors are just parked!), and maggie loves that one. "you stand on it," she said, "it's weally cool." cute!!

a nina cutie: this evening before bed, nina told nick, "gabe from school and i can never tell our rest-time towels apart because (and here she let out an exasperated sigh) we have the same one!" sometimes she really sounds like a teenager!

Friday, October 8, 2010

i love these teacher inservice days!

today nina, maggie, and i went to story hour and the botanical gardens. what a lovely day it was! sunny and warm (until we went to the gardens, then it was cloudy and tepid.

oh i've been sucked into watching iron man 2, so maybe that's it for tonight. it's really good!

oohhh! i was just gonna write more but the bad guy came on, now the action has really started!

well anyway, not much else to say. the girls have been a little bit sick with a stomach ache and mild diarrhea and it's been waking maggie up at night, so i haven't been sleeping all that well at night. that, and she's been waking up at 4 in the morning and wanting to go downstairs and play. sheesh!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

it's been since sunday already?

i really aim to write at least every other day! man oh man, time just flies!

well, dinner is almost ready, so this is only going to be quick. nina had no school today, it was a teacher inservice day, but she went to a friend's house to play. maggie and i stayed for the first 2 hours, but then maggie needed a nap and nina and her friend wanted to play longer. so i left her there, a bonafide big girl, drop off playdate! my oh my, how fast they grow! she had a great time.

this morning, maggie informed me, "i must naney!"


more later!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

today we built a scarecrow

there was a build-a-scarecrow event at the botanical gardens today, so the girls and i, with some help from grandma and grandpa, build a very lovely, very fashionable, scarecrow. i didn't take a picture yet (i forgot the camera!), but she's wearing a pink turtleneck, a lavender skirt and wrap, red lipstick, and a pink baseball cap. her face kind of reminds me of whatever happened to baby jane (i was responsible for the eyelashes, nina did the blush), and the effect is as freaky as it sounds. maggie thinks she's scary, so we might have to take her down. ha, i'm building up the drama aren't i! well, i'll try to take a picture tomorrow, then you all can see.

i decided to put her up in the front yard (the grass island in our circular driveway), so that we could see her from inside the house too. turns out it's kind of creepy to see her out there, whatever-happened-to-baby-jane eyes staring at me while i'm at the kitchen sink. perhaps i'll move her...

the girls had fun anyway. maggie actually started painting the face, and with no instruction from me (beyond, "start painting her a face maggie") she painted 2 eyes and a mouth, in the proper places. i knew she was drawing faces, but i was still surprised to see her paint one. she's growing up so much!

we also started sunday school (i'm the pre-K to first grade teacher, and today my students were nina and maggie. we might get another kid once in a while though). the girls really like the new curriculum, it's very pre-K-ish. it starts with circle time on our little carpet area, moves over to our craft table, gets the kids up and moving with a secular "jump like a kangaroo" kind of game, back over to circle time (maggie loves circle time), and back to the craft table.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

more apple picking!

as the title of this post declares, in typical exclamatory fashion!, we picked some more apples today. this time it was back to the orchard where nina's class went for their first field trip. i didn't realize they had more apple trees tucked there in the back, it's actually a pretty big orchard! they still had lots of apples, and best of all, drops were free! that's right, all the apples you can take free from the ground. since it was windy and stormy last night, the drops were very fresh and ripe. i think i got around 10 lbs! made a huge apple crisp this afternoon and will definitely be making some more tomorrow. or maybe applesauce. or maybe just peeling and slicing for the winter. if i wasn't so afraid of botulism, i'd probably be taking up canning right about now. i don't know, maybe next year. if other people can do it, so can i i'm sure... and the idea of homemade pickles is awfully tempting. well see, if the garden yield is better next year (my plan is to go crazy with the compost, the guy at the botanical gardens assures me that good compost is the key), then maybe i'll look into the canning business.

oops, i'm drifting off topic! it's been a while since i've written about the garden though, so a quick update. (erik i know you'll skip this paragraph, news about the girls will continue in the next one.) so let's see, the only thing still growing are the tomatoes, and i'm still getting a dozen or so a week (they're cherry tomatoes remember, so a dozen a week is not very many. especially since they're smaller these days, more like small grapes). i've pulled up the dead plants in most of the space and raked up the beds to keep the weeds out. i harvested the last of the carrots earlier in the week and used them in my chicken noodle soup, and haven't gotten anything else in a while. i was thinking of planting spinach for a fall crop, but i'm kind of feeling done with the gardening thing for a while, so i'm not going to.

ok, the girls: apple picking was very fun! we went with a friend who has 3 little girls of her own (the dad was working so it was nick with 7 women!). poor maggie got quite a scare at the store where they weigh the apples and have cider and whatnot: there was a really big fake spider on top of the cider case (about 1.5 feet across), with big fuzzy legs and big googly eyes, and when maggie saw it she started screaming. i ran over, i thought she'd gotten hurt or something, but she was just scared! i felt so bad! the other mom, melissa, quickly explained that it was fake, and touched it to show her, and then maggie started this kind of frantic, nervous giggle, and said "oh it's fake! it's not a real spider!" but she was still really uncomfortable with it. so i took her outside, and when she wanted to go in to get another cider sample, she decided to just close her eyes.

this reminded nick of the incident at the bronx zoo when they had that cockroach display that freaked maggie out. i guess she just has an inborn bug phobia. just big bugs though, she's never been freaked out by an ant or spider or anything.

later on, and grandma and grandpa's house, nina asked me for her friend charlie's phone number. 'why,' i asked. 'do you want to talk to him?' 'yeah,' said nina. 'i want to invite him over for a hot tub party. and i want to invite james too.'
uh-oh! nick and grandpa are having none of this, i think they're researching all-girls schools and convents as i type, actually. haha!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

maggie has started dance class

yesterday after nina's dance class, miss melissa (the dance teacher) asked me if maggie might want to try dance class with her wednesday morning pre-K group. generally, the classes are for 3-4 year olds, so i thought it'd be best for maggie to wait, even though miss melissa lets kids start at about 2.5 if they're ready. well, this wednesday morning group, she said, is really little--all of them either just turned 3 or are turning very soon, except one who is still 2.5. so i said sure, that'd be great!

maggie was SOOO excited. she did a fantastic job too! it helps that she knows melissa and melissa's kids (the youngest of whom is also in the class), and that she's watched nina's classes for so long that she really knows the drill. she was just grinning from ear to ear the whole time. every 5 minutes or so she'd run over to me and say "i'm dancing! i'm dancing!" except at the very end, when she'd run over and ask "is it done yet?" an hour is still a bit long for her. but it's totally going to work, so we're going to enroll her. nina will be so excited to have a little sister dancing at the recital too!

on a different note, nina did the cutest thing for me this morning. i've been sick, as i pointed out yesterday. well this morning, while i was making nina's lunch, she told me to close my eyes and she led me into the family room, where she'd prepared a sick bed for me! she'd put a blanket and pillow on the couch, pulled out a tray table, put a banana on it, and turned on the TV. it was for me to rest and get better! isn't that just the sweetest thing? i love that she'd turned on the TV for me too, good morning america was on. what a sweetie pie!

Monday, September 27, 2010


i'm sick. it started with maggie, then nina got a touch of it, but i have it the worst. as usual. well, maggie had a LOT of snot, but she didn't say anything about a sore throat, so i don't think she had one, at least not as bad as mine.

i kept nina home from school today though, she had an uspet stomach at bedtime last night, so i figured she'd better stay home so she didn't throw up or anything at school. and tomorrow is school picture day, i don't want her to miss that! she's SO excited for it. maggie was THRILLED that nina was home all day. for 2 1/3, she has a really good sense of time, because she totally gets that nina is home on weekends, but that today was a monday and nina should have been at school. so having her home today was a treat in a way that saturday and sunday weren't. and maggie was in a fantastic mood, just utterly delighted all morning. giggling, playing with nina, running around and shrieking with joy. it was so cute.

oh, she's writing letters on purpose. i didn't ask her, but this morning she drew an A and then showed it to me. she gets very frustrated when there's something she can't do though, so i'm not making too big a deal about writing letters. like, i'm not going to try to teach her how to write them, that would just upset her. just a few days ago she was trying to do something (what was it? i can't remember... mom was here, i'll ask her if she remembers), and she said "i can't do it, i'm too little!!" poor kid.

she also still talks a lot about going to preschool. on the way to church on sunday she kept pointing to different buildings and asking, "is that my preschool? maybe that one will be my preschool." i don't think she's really ready for preschool, she still freaks out a lot if i'm not around (the other day i went to pick up nina at the top of dover rd after school, and i asked her if she wanted to come but she said no, she wanted to go to grandma's. i asked again, and again before i left, and she insisted she wanted to go to grandma's, but then she freaked out when i drove away. so i really don't think she'd like it at preschool.

ok, bedtime for me!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

it was 85 degrees yesterday!

hot! today it's only about 60 and overcast, quite the difference. we went to a pig roast at an old high school buddy's of mine, and nina and maggie's good friend bernadette was there, so the girls had a fantastic time running around. they were tuckered out at night! not that they went to bed any earlier than usual, but they did sleep in until 8 this morning.

so, nina always tells me that she loves me more than any other kid loves their mom. and then i tell her that i love her more any any other mom loves her kid. well, yesterday nina told me that she loves charlie more than any other kid loves her best friend. aww!

maggie has started drawing more realistic people, which i think is really early. she draws a circle for the body, a circle for the head, stick legs with circle feet, and stick arms with circle hands. sometimes she even does eyes or hair. pretty detailed for not yet 2 1/2! she's also trying to write letters, i think. she's been making Hs and As, and i think it's on purpose. i'll have to ask her and get back to you. i'll take a picture of her writing (maybe the stuff on the wall, that's still there...), then you can see.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

nina's terrible day

nina gets pessimistic when she's tired. before she fell asleep tonight, she started to tell me about what a terrible day she had. "what happened?" i asked her. "well, first," she said, "i didn't like the way the wet grass felt on my feet." (that was this afternoon, when she and maggie were playing outside while i cooked dinner.) "so i just sat there and was bored. then, i didn't see grandpa for 2 days, and i didn't see grandma today. also, i thought school was going to be a short day, but it wasn't. it was a long day."
"but it was a short day," i said. "you got out at 1:30."
"no," she said. " i thought we were going to be done after our AM snack. i thought we were going to eat our snacks and then they were going to say, 'ok, time to go home to your moms.'" (aww! she does miss me!) "also," she continued, "i miss (everyone. i'm not typing out all the names, she misses EVERYONE. even yvonne and renee. she also missed charlie already, even though they're best friends and see eachother every day)."

i told nina that maggie and i will come to lunch tomorrow, and that after school, we can go to the ebb tide so she can see grandma. that made her happy.

before she got so tired, she was very happy and said she had a great day (best part: telling us a joke she heard at school: "a hippo was sitting on a fox and said, 'you're under arrested!' and the fox said, 'no, i'm under a big fat hippo!' HAHA!! worst part: the feeling of the wet grass and being bored). being tired always makes her feel more negative.

maggie also answered the best/worst part of the day question. best part of the day was picking up nina, worst part was the angelina halloween book (but i think she just said that because it was there and she couldn't think of the worst part).

Monday, September 20, 2010

a volunteering monday

mom and i volunteered at the elementary school book fair today. maggie came along, she was in heaven. all those books!! it's funny to compare the books she is drawn to with the books nina goes for. nina has fairly broad taste in books, but definitely prefers animal and princess-y topics. maggie likes those things too (everything really), but she grabbed 2 shark books and a ripley's believe it or not book with a lizard man on the cover. she's grandma's little girl alright!
maggie and i had lunch with nina too, always fun. maggie ate the cheese off her taco, nina cleaned her tray and ate some of my food. that girl can eat!

hm, that's all i can think of...

Saturday, September 18, 2010

we went apple picking again

i love fresh picked apples! so, we went again. besides i used up half of our thursday apples in an enormous apple crisp on friday, so we needed more anyway. this time we went back to the place we went to last year, rocky ridge orchards i think it's called. we got some pumpkins, some gourds for the table, some indian corn to decorate with, and only a few apples, because these trees were almost totally picked! they only opened up last weekend too, the maine apple pickers are like locusts!

there was also a ride on a cart drawn by two big horses. the guy who owned them was very nice and let the kids sit on top. these horses were HUGE, taller than the guy! they must have weighed 6 or 8 hundred pounds each. HUGE!!! he said they were belgians i think. (ok i just looked it up online, they weigh on average 2,000 pounds each!! holy moly!) anyway, the girls sat on them (maggie went first), and they got a huge kick out of that. so, lots of unexpected fun there, because they didn't have a horse ride last year.

we even stopped at the mcdonald's play place on the way home. what a fun-filled day!!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

field trip today

technically, this wasn't nina's first field trip ever; that would be the class trip to the queens county farm that she took with her preschool 2 years ago. but it was her first real school field trip! maggie and i came along as chaperones (maggie couldn't ride the bus though, only students and parents were allowed), and we all went apple picking. the kids had a great time, and the orchard women said they were very well behaved. how nice!

maggie and i stayed after the kids left and picked more apples. tomorrow i am making a huge apple crisp, mmmmm my favorite. i didn't take any pictures, i know i haven't put any up in a while, but i was in charge of nina and another girl on the field trip (plus maggie of course, who took 3 trips to the bathroom), so my hands were pretty full.

and wow was it a perfect day for apple picking! bright blue sky, barely a cloud, and warm once the morning chill wore off.