about a dream: October 2010

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!