about a dream: 2011

Thursday, December 29, 2011

nina's old enough now to be embarrassed when i tell funny stories about her

but, as she doesn't read the blog (yet!), i'll continue to tell them here.

today after we went swimming at the Y, she was talking about drew, one of her classmates.

"he's half indian and half human," she told me.

"well, he's 100% human," i corrected.

"yeah," she said. "he's 100% human and just a tiny bit indian."

haha! i of course explained that indians are humans too. actually, the problem was that she didn't know how to describe the other half of drew. i told her she could say either white or Caucasian. maybe we should discuss race a little more around here!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

fun with christmas presents!

here are nina, maggie, and grandma, reading the alice in wonder land pop-up book that vanessa got the girls. wow, this pop up book is incredible! not like the pop-ups from when i was a kid. maggie got one on dinosaurs, too. she's not allowed anywhere near them unsupervised!

here are the girls and erik all cuddled under one snuggie. aww!

while they were in there, maggie said "i'm going to pee in my pants!" just what erik wanted to hear!! it was ok though, she scrambled off to the bathroom and made it in time.

the girls love the ATV. nina loved it right away, maggie didn't get on until today. but once she did, she loved it too! she let nina drive her from grandma's house, down to the path to our house, back to grandma's house "the long way" (that's via the driveways), then around grandma's house on the lawn. they did the big loop twice!


here they are, pictures from christmas 2011!

merry christmas me and erik!

nina opening presents under the tree

nina again

this would make a good mug shot for nick

maggie and grandma. doesn't maggie look so big?!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

a very merry christmas, 2011

what a fantastic day! it started with nina sitting up in bed and whispering, "it's christmas!" at 6:41 am. i heard her thunder down the stairs, then gasps and squeals of excitement. she'd wrapped a present for santa and left it under the tree, and was very excited to see that he'd opened it and left a thank you note for her. what a sweetie she is! then she went through her stocking, and then maggie woke up, came downstairs, and went through her stocking. the clear glue, gum, and skittles were huge hits. maggie ate half of her skittles and chewed up all of her gum before 9. we were cutting gum out of her hair before 8!

erik, isabelle, mom and dad came over to watch the girls open the presents from us, and then we opened the adults gifts that were under our tree. after a brief stint at church, we continued the present-opening merriment at grandma and grandpa's. isabelle's mom and aunt joined us there too. they're very, very nice and very fun to have around.

toy hits were princess celestia, nina's baby doll, the remote controlled pony car, the mining hats, operation, the pop-up books, the ATV--pretty much everything! the kids just love toys! maggie hasn't ridden on the ATV yet, but nina loves it, and i can't wait to see her drive it at twilight with her mining cap on!!

then there was lots of food, lots of playing, more food, more playing, and general merriment. maggie conked out at 8:30 and nina is planning to spend the night at mom and dad's. she's even wearing her new pjs!

as for me, i'm wiped out, so i'll be holding down the fort at our place while maggie sleeps. merry christmas!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

nina's camera

last year, erik and isabelle got nina a digital camera for christmas. she loves it, and it's often been a great source of entertainment for the girls. a few evenings ago, they entertained themselves for half an hour while i was cooking dinner. here are some of the results:

nina was taking pictures of maggie jumping off the couch. she got some really great ones!

by the end, maggie was pooped.

funny kids!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

nina's school christmas concert was this morning.

so cute! she went just for the concert--last night was a little difficult (coughing, runny nose, and general malaise woke her up a few times), so we let her sleep in in the morning. and boy did she, she didn't wake up until 8! that's crazy late for nina. usually she's up at 6:30, school day or not. she's mostly better though, fortunately this is just a weak little bug. maggie stopped coughing at night a few nights ago too, and her nose is running less, so she's well past the worst of it.

the christmas concert was adorable. it was just grades K, 1, and 2, and nina's class sang "he's too fat for the chimney" and "all i want for xmas is my 2 front teeth." then all the grades together sang jolly old st. nicholas and frosty the snowman, and THEN all of us had a deck the halls and we wish you a merry xmas sing along.

while nina's concert was going on, maggie had dance class. so i had a hectic morning, getting nina to school and then running maggie down to the Y, then back to the school to see some of the performance, then back to the Y to get maggie, then oops, forgot something at the school, so back up the the school, then back down to the Y. and i wonder why i'm so pooped in the evenings!

i did manage to catch the part of dance class where maggie ran off and yelled over her shoulder to her classmates, "hey, let's make trouble!" and then began to climb on the tae kwan do equipment. that kid! what am i going to do with her?!

and now, christmas vacation has begun! we are so excited around here that we can't stand it! i'm not sure how i'm going to keep the girls busy for the next 2 days. tomorrow is supposed to be in the mid-40s, so maybe a long hike in the woods, and perhaps a swim at the Y on friday. funny how the shortest days of the year feel like the longest!!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

what a big day (for a tuesday)

wow we had a big day today! first, nina's class went to see happy feet 2 for a field trip. what a treat! they walked over to the movie theater too, even though it was freezing and windy outside. well, it wasn't crazy cold, either high 20s or low 30s, but the wind was biting. tough maine kids!

then maggie and i met her at the school for lunch. first we returned some books to the school library, and since the kids were late getting back from the field trip, we sat in the lobby and read one of our new books while we waited. they were so late though that they missed their time slot in the cafeteria, so we all ate lunch down in nina's classroom. that was a fun change of pace.

then we stayed while nina's teacher read a story. this month, she's wrapped all of the books she's reading during class, and each day a different kid gets to unwrap the book. and today, she let maggie do it! isn't that so sweet? she's the sweetest teacher. she also let maggie open the advent calender for today and eat the chocolate. maggie was in heaven.

the story was fun too. it was long, and i was very impressed by maggie's ability to sit and pay attention. she did a better job with that than half of the first graders. one boy was wiggling around in front of us during the story, and out of the blue maggie smacked him on the leg. it didn't hurt him or anything, he thought it was kind of funny i think (he got this shocked look on his face and immediately told his friends that she'd hit him). i told maggie to not hit, but i didn't want to make a fuss or anything. later, i asked her why she hit the boy, and she said, "he was annoying me."
fair enough, he was being annoying. but i am a bit worried about how this bodes for her school experience.

well, busy day continued. maggie had had a little bug, and nina was a bit sniffly over night and this morning. during the story i noticed that she was fading out, and so i decided to take her home. she was feeling a tiny bit warm too. i'm sure that walk in the frigid cold didn't help any.

so, we came home, and nina and maggie both rested on the couches, ate chicken noodle soup and drank tea, and read stories for about 2 hours. then they felt better, made some cookies, and were pretty much their usual selves for the rest of the day. they're both coughing a bit in their sleep right now, and both have slightly runny noses, but knock on wood, this bug doesn't seem too bad.

but what a busy day!

Monday, December 19, 2011

warm winter pajamas for everyone!

i made these adorable, warm fleece pjs for the girls. aren't they adorable?!

i initially made maggie a warm set of pjs because she's still in her shorts and t-shirt pjs phase. i was sick of fighting with her to put on a sweater, or a poncho, or her robe, because she was always taking it off. and she won't wear long sleeves or long pants; whenever she does put them on, she freaks out and strips them off eventually, even in the middle of the night. so as a compromise, i decided to make her a longish short sleeve (they're about down to her elbow) and longish shorts (they're just below the knee) warm fleece pjs. did i mention they're warm fleece? heheeh. so yeah, a compromise. or bending over backwards to accommodate her fixation, whatever.

but they're so awesome that nina wanted a pair too. hers turned out even cuter than maggie's i think!

and now the three of us have matching slippers too. it's that just the cutest?

quick cute story: the other night nina took a little while to fall asleep, maybe 15 or 20 minutes. after tossing and turning for a while, she turned to me and asked, "is the night almost over?" haha! it sure does feel like forever when you're having trouble falling asleep!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

yet more zany maggie

wow this kid is full of pip lately!

on thursday (or was it friday) maggie told me that my butt looked like a hippo's. i said something like, "did you just say my butt looks as big as a hippo's?" and she replied, "yes. your bit is as big as a hippo's."
wow, thanks maggie! if i wasn't fully aware of the fact that i am, in reality, quite slender, i might be offended. but to be honest, i was crawling around on the floor (cleaning up dust) in my grey shorts, so it probably did look pretty big to her!

then on friday (this time i'm sure it was friday) we were at the thrift store, and maggie grabbed her butt and announced, "i have to go poop! it's coming out!" "ok," i said. "let's ask if they have a bathroom here that you can use." so maggie turned to the nearest elderly lady and said, "do you have a bathroom here?" the woman laughed and told maggie she didn't know, as she didn't work there.

i led maggie to a woman who does work there and she asked again (still holding onto her butt.) "do you have a bathroom here?!!" the woman said yes and pointed to where it was (the sign said no public restrooms, but very few people will refuse if maggie asks herself). then maggie said "is it a matic flush? i don't like a matic flush!" (that's automatic flush, but the way she says it is too cute). the woman laughed and said no, it was just a regular flush. whew! because she really doesn't like those automatic flushers!

finally, we had some fun today at hannaford. maggie likes to play "disappear/reappear" there. that involves her telling me she's going to disappear, running away, and then come running back saying "reappear!" so when she ran off, i wasn't too worried. she always comes back! except this time, she didn't. so i positioned myself at the fish counter so that i could see across one end of all the aisles, plus into the produce section, and i figured i'd see her run around eventually. but i didn't. so i went looking, walking along the meat end of the store and looking down all of the aisles. i still didn't see her and was deciding about what i should do next when i suddenly spotted her lying down on one of the shelves in the soda aisle! i just barely caught sight of her, she was in her purple snowsuit and blended in really well with the boxes of soda cans.

that kid!! she does this all of the time at home--hide quietly and not come even when she's called. i've tried telling her about always answering when she's called, but she just doesn't care. i'm really lucky i spotted her, we were probably about 5 minutes away from putting hannaford on lockdown. sheesh.

in funner news, we got some unexpected snow today! we took the girls sledding on the high school football field, i couldn't believe that we were the only ones there! there was only about an inch, but it was a nice damp (not soggy, just good packing) snow, so it pressed down (into the very green grass) to make a nice slick but not too fast slide. perfect for the kids! nina must have gone up and down a few dozen times. the girl has endless energy!

Thursday, December 15, 2011


that maggie!

when there's something she's looking for that she can't find, she has taken to saying "it's nowhere to be found!"

and a few days ago, she was upset that we didn't have something (i can't remember what. jell-o?), and she said, "oh man, we don't have any! arrgh! bummer!"

oh man and bummer! she's too funny!

Monday, December 12, 2011

it's getting closer to christmas!!

the girls are very excited. presents are arriving and being shipped out on a daily basis, and the girls are finishing up the presents they're making. maggie really wants to make some cakes, pies, or cookies. or pudding. and definitely some jell-0, so i'm sure we'll be doing some cooking this week. fun times! i don't even mind that it's sunny and in the 40s, i can still totally get into the christmas spirit.

there's a terrible stomach bug going through town right now. mom has just a touch of it, but i know some kids that threw up for 24 hours straight with it. cross your fingers that we don't catch it!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

and, some pictures of nina

can you believe we forgot to bring the camera to nina's dance recital? we'll get copies of pics from friends, but until then, here are some recent adorable photos of the world's most beautiful 6 year old. enjoy!

also, here's a photo of nina's favorite hairstyle. she explained to me what she wanted, and then had me take a picture to make sure i did it right. who needs a mirror when you've got a digital camera? it's like the movie clueless!

it's a good thing she had me take the photo, turned out i'd gotten it wrong the first time anyway...

nina had a dance recital today

the opera house is hosting the gingerbread festival, wherein they display gingerbread houses made my the local folks. they're incredible! i always dream about making one with the girls, but something tells me we'd have a disaster... maybe when maggie's a bit bigger. though she is a great help when it comes to cooking. witness:

note that the "two pigtails and a pony tail" look is completely maggie's idea.

anyway, i digress. nina's recital was adorable! she didn't quite have the routine down 100%, and i think she got a little nervous up there on the stage, because she didn't do it as well as she had been at practice. but she's now the little one up there--aside from her friend nora who's also 6, the rest of the dancers are 8 to 14 years old. and nina's the only one who dances just once a week, the rest take class at least twice a week. so all things considered, she did wonderfully. we can't wait for the spring recital!!

OH WAIT, i forgot! we made something even better than a gingerbread house. a marshmallow nativity!!!!

there are mary and joseph, with baby jesus in the manger, plus a sheep and an angel. truly a work of confectionery christmas art.

2 quick maggie funnies

the first was about a week ago. maggie was just playing by herself when she looked at me and said, "papa's a real lady killer."

i'm not even making that up, she really said it.

the other was today, while we were watching a nature show about madagascaran lemurs. apparently there was a giant, 200-lb lemur that became extinct about 300 years ago. "why did it become extinct?" she asked. "Why and how?"

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

oops, i promised to write about saturday, and i never did

i was just looking at my posts this months, and i realized that i promised to tell about our big day on saturday, but never did. alas! well, fear not, because i still probably remember most of the day, and i even have pictures, already on the computer and ready to upload, to go with it!

here it is, in chronological order: i tutor on saturday mornings, so nick took maggie to swim lessons and nina to Y arts practice while i did that. then, my parents took me into town, and i met up with nick and maggie at the historical society for some fantastic snacks. then we walked down to the public landing to watch the Y arts sing a few of their carols before santa arrived by boat. such fun!

(kids singing)

after santa arrived, we took a ride on a horse-drawn (or to be precise, horses drawn) wagon to the opera house to check out the festival of trees. there was one tree that was put together by the library group, and the girls had actually glittered pinecones for that one. fun fun fun. THEN we drove back into town (because we were getting a little tired by this point, and the car was right there anyway), got some snacks at the library, sat on santa's lap, and headed off to the church for the live nativity. the girls were angels in it!!

nina did a great job. maggie was too tired, and either picked glitter off of their friend ariel's wings or laid down on the steps of the altar for a rest. so, she didn't last very long.
coming soon to a christmas card near you! (not really, i thought it was too dark)

but our day wasn't over yet!! after the live nativity, at cookies at hot cocoa in the parish hall, we watched the lighted boat parade from the church lawn, and THEN went out to dinner at china by the sea. no wonder i was too tired to write about it all! i'm tired just typing about it!

another busy week

today nina's Y arts group performed their christmas concert at the Y. they were fantastic! i will try to upload some video tonight, but it is kind of late and i'm tired, so we'll see. channel 7, the local programming channel, was there recording, so maybe they'll have it available on their website. i don't know if they do that... they didn't 2 years ago when i checked to see if nina's dance recital was there, but maybe now they do. well, i will surely let you know.

it was quite the big day for us though. first maggie had dance from 9:30 - 10:30. then she and i went to have lunch with nina. usually when we do lunch, we stay for recess, and we did today. however, today it was raining, so for the first time ever we got to do indoor recess, which meant watching frosty the snowman. quite the treat! well, not for maggie, she thought it was sad and never wants to see it again.

THEN we went home for a bit, then picked up nina at the top of dover rd ("the pick up spot"), then had a snack and played candy land, then headed back out to take nina to dance rehearsal at the opera house, then we grabbed some pizza at the bbay house of pizza, then it was off to the Y for nina's hour-long rehearsal before the hour-long show. maggie was exhausted by the end of it, but she was a real trooper. she had kind of a difficult morning, with lots of tears, but she really bounced back and was very happy in the afternoon. she cracked me up at the house of pizza--there was a little boy there with his mom, and maggie was sure that she was older than him. when she decided to get up and go ask him, i crossed my fingers, because it looked to me like a close call. fortunately, he was just 3. maggie informed him that she is three and a half. this kid was as outgoing as maggie, so there was a lot of back and forth while we waited for our pizzas. but at one point, maggie marched up to the boy and his mom, hands on hips, and announced "i'm always up to something!"

oh, how i laughed. it's true though!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

i'm sure we'll all laugh about this some day...

so, here goes.

i took the girls to church this morning. usually it's just me and the girls, and that was the case today too. maggie was in quite the mood, just being very energetic and silly, and nina was pretty restless too. but since we were up in the old choir loft in the back of the downstairs chapel, i wasn't too worried. we can kind of hide up there and people don't notice so much.

well, maggie was down on the ground and i was trying to listen to the second reading, when i noticed that she'd crawled under the pew and was heading down those few stairs to the back of the church. i quickly went around (of course, not under the pew!) and when i got to the back of the church, maggie was standing at the top of the center aisle. i gave her my sternest look and motioned for her to come back. she braced herself, then took off full bore down the aisle. everyone in the church was was quietly seated, listening to the second reading. i had of course just a split second to decide what to do, and so i ran after her. when she didn't turn left towards the stairs to leave the church i broke into full sprint. i was terrified that she was going to run up onto the altar.

i nabbed her just a few pews before the altar. i'm sure everyone was staring at us, but i was too embarrassed to look up, so i just dashed to the entry doors with her. fortunately during the scolding, the girls' friend mckenna came in with her mom. mckenna always comes to church with lots of toys, so i just let the girls play with her. they're always very quiet when they play. if she hadn't come in then though, i would have had to take the girls and leave.

ugh. either nick needs to start coming to church with me, or else i'm going to start leaving maggie home. it's just not worth it.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

we had such a big day that i'm too tired to blog about it.


but i will share one little gem from about a week ago that i forgot to mention here. the girls were in the car with me, and we were driving somewhere. the girls were playing or who knows what when nina said, "maggie, don't lick your boots--they're made in china!"

haha! it's funny because it's true!

Friday, December 2, 2011

maggie was in such a good mood today!

i know i often blog about maggie's attitude (maggitude!!), but today she was such a doll. ok mostly. but i'll tell about the cutest parts first.

she is so social and outgoing. today at the playground, she befriended a little girl, just about 6 months younger than maggie. she was so cute and so outgoing, asking the girl what her name is, how old she was, and if she wanted to play. where nina has always been more shy and happy to play by herself, maggie always befriends the kids at the playground and gets everyone playing together. it's really adorable.

then, at big al's, so was so excited by the asile upon asile of worthless treasures that she kept running off (in tights but no shoes. i hadn't realized she'd kicked them off in the car and had carried her in without them. oops!). but she had the biggest smile on her face, and her earnest joy brought a smile to everyone there. one man even game mom $2 and said 'please buy that cute little girl whatever she wants!'. a happy maggie makes everyone happy.

she was tired on the way to brunswick though (we went to brunswick. it's fun to have 4 generations of brancato women eating lunch!). mom and i were talking and she was sleepy, so she shouted from her carseat in the back, "rule number one, no talking!!" in her grumpy voice. good thing she's even cute when she's grumpy.

tomorrow is a big day, nina's Y arts group sings before santa's arrival at the town dock! we will try to get a video of it for you!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

i can't believe how warm it was today.

well i don't know what the high was today, but it was lovely! mid 50s at least. 60 maybe. what a way to end november!

the girls and i were out hunting for a christmas tree this afternoon. it's been so warm that it's taking a bit of effort to get into the christmas spirit, so we're listening to christmas music, making wreaths, and hunting for our tree. so far there's nothing on our property, but we'll expand our search and maybe grab something from the neighbors. hehehe.

also, i have a break up to announce. i know, the blog is a terrible way to drop news like this, but... nina and gabe are no longer an item. she told me today that they've broken up. i didn't know they were an item. when i pressed nina for details, she explained that she assumed they'd broken up, since gabe doesn't follow her around "like this" (arms outstreached, eyes smitten, a pose that we've dubbed "the gabe.") it was funny to hear her say "broke up," and at first i assume she'd heard the term at school, but on second thought, she could easily have heard it here. but don't worry, she still has charlie, plus 4 other guys that she loves. papa, grandpa, uncle erik, and uncle micah! so sweet. when i asked, "what about ethan and wyatt?" she said, "oh yeah, 6 guys i love!"

tonight margarete also re-affirmed that she wants to live with uncle erik and aunt isabelle, who she loves best of all, and watch TV with them all day. promises promises! she wanted me to read a book to her (another book i should say, i'd already read at least three), and i said "i will, but first i have to change into my pajamas." and she said "NO BUTs!!!" i guess i should have just put on the TV.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

we're getting in the christmas spirit around here!

last night the grinch was on TV, so we let the girls stay up to watch it. they love it. their huge smiles as it was starting were just too cute.

we've also made some fantastic wreaths, which are easy when it's 60 degrees and we can make them outdoors! we even made one as a gift for erik and isabelle in boston. i wish i'd taken a picture of it, nina decorated it with painted and glittered leaves and pinecones, and it was a thing of beauty. plus it had this big yellow construction paper circle attached that said "happy thanksgiving aunt, uncle, chester." she didn't have space for the full names. such a practical child!

we have such a busy few weeks coming up. on saturday, the Y arts chorus sings for santa's arrival in town, which means cookies at the library, carriage rides, and sitting on santa's lap (maybe). plus there are the trees at the opera house, the live nativity at church that they're going to be in, and the harbor lights festival. hopefully we'll remember to bring the camera for once!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

went to the boston science museum yesterday

it was fantastic! we saw so much, i can't even begin to recount it all. the highlights for maggie were the 2 triceratops skeletons at triceratops cliff--one made almost entirely of real dinosaur bones (only a very few small bones were casts, like the toes and some small part of the skull. it was one of the most complete triceratops skeletons ever found), and the skeleton that was made as a cast of real bones. they also had a model tyrannosaurus rex, with skin and all, that was very cool. her other favorite was the donation thing they have where you spin the coins down, and the more precise model they had with steel balls in the math area. plus the demonstration of how items fall at the same speed regardless of weight, and the demonstration of how nanomaterials try to mimic properties of real materials (in this case, cabbage leaves). oh yes, and the balls rolling down the ramp, to see which shape ramp is the fastest.

nina was going to tell me her favorites, but she's having too much fun reading to chester. well, her favorites definitely included riding the escalator, the entire light exhibit, and the physics in the park exhibit, which had lots of playground toys. fun fun fun!!

there was in area in the human body exhibit with actual psychologists (from boston college!) doing research about children and the way they recognize emotions in faces. maggie and nina both participated. the women started by asking the girls a few questions about feelings, and with maggie's interview, it went something like this:

researcher: we're going to talk about feelings, like happy, sad, and pax (pax was part of the study, explaining would take too long). have you ever felt happy?
maggie: no.
researcher: have you ever felt sad?
maggie: yes. i'm sad right now. i want to naney.
the researcher continued without missing a beat, but i was kind of embarrassed. not much, because i'm used to maggie, but a bit. she has felt happy before!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

almost thanksgiving....

the girls are so excited. they've been hopping and running all over the house all day. it rained too, so i couldn't get them outside to burn off any of that energy in the great outdoors. instead, mom and i took them to ikea, and they spent about an hour in the giant ball pit they have in the kids play area. close enough!

isabelle and i made some cornbread and 2 pies tonight, dinner tomorrow should be good!

happy thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

maggie is really something else with math

she loves grapefruits. LOVES them. we're buying them by the big bag at the store these days, and earlier this week we were at hannaford's, and maggie asked for more grapefruit. so i picked up one of the big bags, and maggie wanted to count how many there were. 6. then she started saying, "i ate 3, and nina ate 1, so we have... 2 more left at home."

what the heck! that's some really advanced math for a 3.5 year old! nina hasn't brought anything like this home from school yet this year, but i would assume it's considered first grade level. i was totally blown away.

whew, what a busy weekend!

on friday night we all went to a birthday party for one of the girls' friends, saturday was the early bird sale, frozen turkey hunt, and another birthday party, and today was church, sunday school, and some fun play with our friends the mosses. whew!

the early bird sale was kind of a bust for us, we got there after 9 and the 2 sales we were interested in (grovers and shermans) were over at 9. poop. but we still got what we needed, support local business!

i told nina that in order to get 25% off at shermans, i had to wear my pajamas. the conversation pretty much went exactly like the poo-poo platter one. she did not believe me. (i think that's the first time in the history of this blog that i've used bold. amazing). she let me pack my robe in the car, and was shocked to see that i wasn't lying. people all over town were in their pajamas! of course, maggie was too, but this time everyone thought it was intentional. i assume that since we went straight from the early bird sale to the frozen turkey hunt at the botanical gardens, people just thought maggie had her pajamas on from that. well, people who don't know us of course. and guess what, we actually got a turkey this year! amazing. ok, we didn't actually find an apple with a green sticker on it ourselves, it was kind of a pity turkey, but whatever, we got one. :-)

then it was home for just a few hours before we went back out to a birthday party for one of nina's classmates. nina had said the girl said that parents and siblings could stay, but i don't think that was accurate. luckily, the mom didn't mind if maggie stayed (she knows all of the girls from nina's class since we visit so often), so she did. what fun! nick and i ended up having a lovely dinner at mcseagull's with mom and dad. score!

and today, church and sunday school. maggie was quite the handful at church, twice trying to escape (one of our parishoners told me at social hour that when she was 2, she put on her hat and walked outside while her mother was up getting communion. the church was on a busy street in boston too! so see, it could always be worse!). then we made new angel wings for the live nativity in 2 weeks, with lots and lots of glitter. is it any wonder i'm so tired i can barely type?

but the weather has stayed beautiful, it was in the high 50s today and just perfect. yesterday was a little cooler i guess, but it had to be in the mid 50s when we were at the gardens. if it wasn't, it sure felt like it while we were running around!

we've got lots more coming up, too. the Y-Arts group is singing before santa arrives downtown on the 3rd, the weekend after that nina's ballet class dances at the gingerbread festival, and then there's the live nativity and the harbor lights festival. is it any wonder we actually look forward to january? it's the first time we really get a chance to rest up!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

maggie loves dinosaurs

the other night, nick was reading maggie a book about dinosaurs she and i had gotten from the library, and already read a few times. they got to part about this dinosaur, and nick said "oh, that's a baby triceratops that hasn't grown any horns yet." and maggie said, "no, that's a pro-TO-seratops." emphasis like that. i told nick that maggie speaks slowly when she's dealing with someone who doesn't understand. he's lucky she didn't call him stupid.

seriously though, that girl does not forget a THING. today at dinner we had chicken, and she wanted the leg, and started talking about whether the chicken was a boy or a girl. and she said, "oh, it's a boy, because the girls lay eggs so they keep those, and they kill the boys." i'd explained that to her a few weeks ago, and she just does not forget!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

letters to santa

nina wrote her letter to santa last night, and after she wrote her own, maggie dictated hers to nina.

nina wrote:
Dear santa
I want 10 books for crismis!

Anina Halter

and maggie's says:
I love you santa!
I want a little flufy dog with bows in her eres!

(that's ears)

but, that's not exactly what maggie said. when nina said, "maggie, what do you want for christmas?" maggie responded "a loving mother" (honestly). nina said, "maggie! you already have that. what else do you want."

so at least one of my kids thinks i'm a loving mother. the other one has requested a back-up mother, preferably aunt isabelle.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

my happy birthday banner

i made this banner a few weeks ago as a birthday present for wyatt, but i didn't put a photo up so i could surprise vanessa with it (because it was more for her than wyatt, really. but hey, she did all the work the day he was born! haha!)

but anne and erik and isabelle didn't get to see it, so here it is. i was so happy with the way it came out!

Monday, November 14, 2011

mmm, lettuce!

last night we had sauteed escarole with dinner. maggie took a look at it and said, "what is this, melted lettuce?"

haha! an apt description!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

One of the fun things about having kids is messing with their heads every now and then

like tonight, i'm wearing a pair of grey leggings with a pair of gray and red striped shorts over them. nina thought the look was pretty dorky. i think i look like a boxer though. plus it's warm, so whatever.

the other day it suddenly occurred to me, in a brilliant flash of insight, that the girls would get a huge kick out of the fact that chinese restaurants often have "pu-pu platter" on the menu. pu-pu, but it sounds like poo-poo (or, at least i assume it does).

so i said, "nina, maggie, did you know you could order something called a pu-pu platter at china by the sea?"
and maggie laughed, and nina looked at me with that look... the one that says 'you're such an idiot,' and said, "no, you can't."
and i said, "yes, you totally can. it's a real thing and it's on the menu."
and she said, "no, it's not."
and i said, "do you think i'm making this up?"
and she said, "yes, i know you're making it up."
and maggie said, "i want to order a poo-poo platter! and a pee-pee platter, and a penis platter, and a fart platter!"
i said to nina, "i'll prove it to you. the next time we go to china by the sea, i'll ask the waitress for a pu-pu platter." i knew that one would really get a reaction.
she said "NO! do NOT say that to the waitress!!"

haha! she still thinks i'm making it up. i'm so mean!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

looks like it's gonna be tofurkey for thanksgiving!

in case you can't read the words, the turkey is saying "don't eat me."

and note the oven mitt on the left-hand side of the photo. the child spares no attention to detail!

Monday, November 7, 2011

today at hannaford....

the guy a the fish counter gave maggie a cookie (they have them behind the counter for kids). maggie was very happy, but she wouldn't eat it because there was just one. even though nina was at school, she wanted one for her. so i told maggie not to worry, we could get a cookie for nina too, and i asked the guy if we could have a second cookie because maggie wanted one for her sister who was at school (explaining lest the guy think we were trying to scam two cookies), and he gave us one and said it warmed his heart to see such a sweet child, and congratulated me on raising such a dear little girl.

happy me! i love it when people see maggie's sweet side, she's such a wonderful little girl. :-)

of course, i was singing a different tune when she was up before 5 this morning, screaming about wanting to nurse and then wanting to put on different pajamas. the girls were out like lights by 7:30 and i'm sure i'll be in bed by 9:30 tonight. oh well, hopefully one day she'll stop screaming to nurse at night. most kids would just give up a few months into the weaning process, but not dear margarete. she has an iron will.

not much else going on. went swimming again at the new Y pool yesterday, one of the girls' friends had a birthday party there. it was fun! they love it, nina wants to stay in for hours but i still get chilly, even in the warm water pool. hopefully nick will be able to last longer than me. maggie loves it too, she swims around in her life jacket and walks up and down the ramp out of the pool.

the weather has been beautiful, too. it had to be in the high 50s today, with a clear sky and a nice warm sun. i could get used to novembers like this!!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

wow, what a day today!

it was non-stop from the time we got up. first i tutored jessie, then i took her and the girls to the YMCA to swim in the new warm water therapy pool. aaaaah! it was so much fun and so warm! usually i'm freezing the whole time that i'm in the water, but this time it took a solid 15 minutes until i even felt cold, and then another 15 minutes to have to get out. victory.

then, the 4 of us (4 being me, the girls, and jessie) and we went to the mall. first we stopped at chuck e cheeze (after that interview with nina, how could we not go?). then we did some shopping (poor nina was desperately in need of some sweaters and long-sleeved shirts), and then we went to the all you can eat chinese buffet (where maggie got to eat a whole plateful of her favorite thing--crawfish!).

we only got home at about 7:30. whew, we're exhausted! the girls had such a good time though, i'm glad we went. i probably would have backed out of going if jessie hadn't been so excited. mention a trip to the mall to a teenager and they get so excited! she also happens to love all you can eat chinese buffets, so all the better.

now i'm going to straighten up a bit around here and then go to bed.

Friday, November 4, 2011

another interview with nina

nina had so much fun doing the last interview that she wanted to do another. this time she came up with the questions all by herself!

1. How do you feel?
Not too well, but well.

2. Who is your favorite author?
Roald Dahl. Because he writes scary books.
Which book of his is your favorite? The Witches.

3. What is your favorite show?
The Witches

4. What do you want to be when you grow up?
A teacher. First grade.

5. What is your favorite place?
Chuck E. Cheeses

6. What is your favorite game?

7. What is your favorite food?
Meatballs and tater tots.

8. Who is your mama?

9. Who is your papa?

10. What is your favorite month?
August. Cause it’s my birthday!

11. What is your favorite princess?
Snow white, because I like snow and her name is Snow White.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

quick halloween funny

we were doing the halloween parade through town last night, and some of the boothbay harbor police officers were directing traffic and whatnot. maggie saw one and said, "he's dressed up as a policeman for halloween." and i said, "yeah, he is. is it a good costume?" and maggie said, "no."

haha. apparently the BHPD uniforms are not very convincing.

after that, we got some food at mcseagulls (free food for kids, nick and i ordered a pizza), then went to trunk or treat at the baptist church for more candy, 2 chili dogs (nick), hot cocoa, and a bounce house. what a fun halloween night!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

halloween weekend continues...

tonight was family fright night at the botanical gardens. lamely, our camera was out of battery power, so we didn't get any pics. but do not despair, mom and dad brought their camera, so there will be photos, just not tonight. tonight you'll just have to make do with my words, and let them create a picture in your mind. :-)

nina was the wicked witch of the east, maggie was pinkie pie (you know what that looks like), nick was charlamegne, and i was queen desiree (his first wife. it didn't work out i guess). nick had an awesomely authentic replica of the crown of the holy roman empire, which i made, and i had an awesomely original crown that nina made. we looked rockin. mom and dad were hippies.

it was tons of fun! lots of food, lots of fun (but not scary!) decorations. there was a costume parade with judgement (boo), which was dumb because the girls didn't win. maggie was so sure she had the best costume and would win best overall, and she was really disappointed when she didn't! she said, "i guess i'm not the bestest." heartbreaking. i told her i thought she was the bestest. then she said she should have worn her ming ming costume, since that won cutest last year. how the heck did she remember that?!! this kid is amazing. i told her that her costume stands a good chance of winning at the opera house on monday. i hate when kids with purchased costumes win prizes, i think prizes should only go to homemade costumes. but perhaps that's my bias speaking. i didn't tell maggie that though, i told her that since she'd won last year, it was nice that someone else got a turn to win, and she really liked that. so it's all good now.

nina didn't win anything either, as there were several witches, and i think the wicked witch of the east thing was too subtle and just went over the judges heads. maybe the opera house...

it's raining right now and we still have power, but who knows about tomorrow! it's supposed to switch to a heavy, wet snow (with all the leaves still on the trees, that could really bring a lot of them down), plus some strong wind. i'll keep you posted of course!

Friday, October 28, 2011

halloween weekend begins!

maggie loves her rainbow dash pinkie pie costume! she wore it to story hour today and kept it on the whole time!

i'm not sure everyone realizes what a milestone that is. maybe you all do. but i'll expound on it for a moment, because this is a big deal. maggie has worn pajamas about 80% of the time for the last year. she loves her pajamas. she's particularily fond of her strawberry shorts and t-shirt pajamas set. it initially came with 2 shirts and 2 shorts, but one of the shorts now has a hole in it (she's been asking me to patch it), so we're down to one of those. i made a second pair of shorts by cutting down an set of "longs" (as they're called around here), and she was ok with that.

ANYWAY! i digress again. she usually screams, wails, cries, and gets thoroughly bent out of shape at the mere suggestion that she put anything but her shorts and t-shirt pj set. but she loves her pinkie pie costume so much that she was willing to wear it, even though it's got long sleeves and long pants, the whole time we were at the library AND at hannaford! i am so, so excited.

she wore it again this evening when we went to the coast guard for their bounce house and haunted house. the bounce house was a hit, but the haunted house was too scary, so the girls didn't do it (i previewed it just in case it was ok for them, but it was definitely too scary. people jumping out and yelling boo, dark hallways, scary faces). but, it was worth it for the bounce house. they were thoroughly exhausted by the time we got home!

oh, also at the story hour halloween party, miss mary handed out some napkins that said "boo" on them, and maggie looked at it and said, "it says boo. b-o-o, boo." go maggie!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

an interview with nina

1. What makes you happy?
snuggling with you mama.

2. What makes you angry?
not snuggling with you mama. when somebody calls me names (me: does somebody call you names?!! maggie: i do! nina: yeah, maggie does. me: true)

3. What makes you laugh?
maggie saying potty words

4. What do you want to be when you grow up?
a doctor

5. What are you really good at?
jumping rope

6. What are you not very good at?
making spiders

7. What is your favorite food?
tater tots!!

8. What is your favorite drink?
lemonade. no apple cider. actually, the thing i'm worst at is pumping. (me: pumping what?) pumping on the swing (me: you're great at pumping!!) ok then i'm horrible at getting my own things up on top of the refrigerator.

9. If you were a cartoon character, who would you be?

10. What do you and maggie do together?
um... play (maggie: computer!) computer.

11. What is your favorite color?
purple and pink!

12. Where is your favorite place to go?
ebb tide.

an interview with maggie

1. What makes you happy?
din-din-din (pointing to naneys). nanas. this makes me happy! before i was sad and then i had naneys and now i am happy.

2. What makes you angry?
you. cause you yell at me too much (!!! i don't yell!!).

3. What makes you laugh?
you! you do funny things. (me: does nina make you laugh?). yeah. so write N-I-N-A. (me: what does she do) like, blllbllbl (sticks out tongue.)

4. What do you want to be when you grow up?
an angel! (licks her arms) um, to fly.

5. What are you really good at?
playing computer

6. What are you not very good at?
playing frisbee. i always put it right here and throw it like that. but i'm getting it.

7. What is your favorite food?

8. What is your favorite drink?

9. If you were a cartoon character, who would you be?
i don't know. (me: which one is your favorite?) curious george!

10. What do you and nina do together?
play ponies!!

11. What is your favorite color?
i don't know. all the colors!!

12. Where is your favorite place to go?
the fish playground

Monday, October 24, 2011

and one for papa

scroll down to the post below for the story with these 2 posts.

1. What is something papa always says to you?
nina: nina honey, just stay away from my work area
maggie: no no no go to grandma's

2. What makes papa happy?
nina: me and maggie
maggie: ming-ming

3. What makes papa angry?
nina: when we climb on his chair when he has his new computer
maggie: playing sad

4. How does papa make you laugh?
nina: when he does the clown and falls down!! (laughter)
maggie: riding the rockey horsey!!

5. What does papa do when you're not around?
nina: work
maggie: checking his email

6. If your papa becomes famous, what will it be for?
nina: being daisy butt the flower butt clown
maggie: being a clown

7. What is your papa really good at?
nina: being daisy butt the flower butt clown
maggie: caillou

8. What is your papa not very good at?
nina: chutes and ladders
maggie: clifford!

9. What does your papa do for his job?
nina: make money so we can buy stuff
maggie: working

10. What is your papa's favorite food?
nina: tacos
maggie: soup

11. What is your papa's favorite drink?
nina: beer
maggie: water

12. If your papa were a cartoon character, who would he be?
nina: he would be nick (from the cat in the hat) because his name's nick
maggie: martha (editor's note: martha is a talking dog)

13. What do you and your papa do together?
nina: we play kids on stage
maggie: play poisson rouge

14. How are you and your papa the same?
nina: 'cause our voices sound the same
maggie: i'm a boy!

15. How are you and your papa different?
nina: he's a boy and i'm a girl
maggie: because i'm a girl

16. Where is your papa's favorite place to go?
nina: hanging out with uncle erik and aunt isabelle
maggie: grandma's

an interview from a year ago...

i can't believe i didn't put this on the blog! i had totally forgotten about this, and found it after i accidentally clicked on "notes" in facebook. so, here's an interview with the kids that i did on october 28, 2010. nina would have been 5 and maggie almost 2 1/2. it's so cute!

i found this on one of nick's friend's pages, and it was so funny. i had to see what my girls would say (i interviewed maggie separately from nina so she wouldn't just repeat her answers)

1. What is something mom always says to you?
nina: i love you (aww!)
maggie: you say, "maggie! where are you??!"

2. What makes mom happy?
nina: listening (as in, when nina listens to me. true!)
maggie: naney. and bird makes papa happy. papa makes you happy.

3. What makes mom angry?
nina: not listening
maggie: computer games

4. How does your mom make you laugh?
nina: by being silly. silly dancing.
maggie: rocking on the rocking horsey

5. What does your mom do when you're not around?
nina: clean!
maggie: sewing

6. If your mom becomes famous, what will it be for?
nina: dancing
maggie: sewing

7. What is your mom really good at?
nina: hugging
maggie: playing computer games

8. What is your mom not very good at?
nina: dancing
maggie: stamping

9. What does your mom do for her job?
nina: clean the house
maggie: sewing

10. What is your mom's favorite food?
nina: won ton soup
maggie: noodles

11. What is your mom's favorite drink?
nina: juice
maggie: water

12. If your mom were a cartoon character, who would she be?
nina: hmmm... lemme think think think... the cat and the hat
maggie: sally (from the cat in the hat. she answered this independently from nina, so i guess there's something to it!). but don't make the sounds, just do it quiet.

13. What do you and your mom do together?
nina: play games like chutes and ladders
maggie: play poisson rouge and playing starfall. drinking coffee and i drink water.

14. How are you and your mom the same?
nina: we both have brown eyes
maggie: i don't know. good.

15. How are you and your mom different?
nina: i have blonder and you have black hair
maggie: i'm purple and you're green

16. Where is your mom's favorite place to go?
nina: chuck E cheeses
maggie: at the fish playground

Sunday, October 23, 2011

some more pics of the girls

maggie playing with her dinosaur and blueberry

nina making a silly face on the slide

with a witch in salem!

sisters hugging

our sleeping beauties in boston.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

one more!!

oops, i forgot i'd already posted pumpkin photos! these were the ones nick took with the camera, but the ipod did a better job getting the glow of the candles inside just right. but i'm in this one! and you can see that maggie is wearing her snow white dress. she might even wear it on halloween. fingers crossed, because she looks so cute in it!

one more foliage post.

happy fall!

fall, glorious fall!

it's not a great year for foliage, but there are still some spectacular leaves in the woods out back. behold the grandeur of autumn! (can you tell i downloaded pictures this evening? more to come!!)

i can't get enough of these pink and purple leaves. the color is really true to life. they're so beautiful! unfortunately, they're restricted to some really small bush-like trees, so we don't get to enjoy a giant pink and purple tree.

i think they're maple trees? they don't all have quite the same shape though.

i don't remember these leaves in the backyard when we were kids. the first time i saw this bright pink and purple color was last fall. so, so cool!

a porcupine!

a few mornings ago, we woke up and saw a porcupine sleeping in a tree in the backyard. it was so neat! it was sitting on its haunches with its head in its paws, sound asleep. adorable! we sneaked up really close and got a good look at it. we couldn't get too close, it was up pretty high, probably 25 feet off the ground, but as close as we could. i didn't get a picture though, it probably would be a let down anyway... lots of branches and leaves and then a furry brown lump in the middle.

oh well what do you know! nick took a picture of the little thing climbing back up. suspiciously what i thought it would look like...

but, that's not the end! we had already seen it waddling around at dusk a few times, so we knew it was around. but then the other day, i saw some damage to our pear tree--bark nibbled away and branches down, with the ends cut at an angle. behold, the damage:

damage to the trunk

missing branches up at the top!

the branches, cut at an angle

so i naturally thought to myself, did the porcupine do this? the branches are so narrow, could they support the weight of that fat little guy? but, i checked, and professor google says it was squirrels, so that solves that.

poor pear tree! i told nina we might have to cut it down and she said, "but that will kill it! you can't!" so i guess that settles that. it's not like it's big enough to fall on something and damage us. our house will look so beautiful, framed by 2 dead trees. oh well!