about a dream: November 2010

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!