about a dream: November 2013

Saturday, November 30, 2013

And then, Santa!

Santa arrived at the common today. Such fun.

My sweet girl, asking for a Monster High doll.
Little Maggie, looking so darn sweet here. But what was she asking Santa for? Tense!!
And all 4 of us, enjoying a moment of holiday cheer in spite of the cold:

If I were to do photo Christmas cards this year, this would be it. But I'm not.

This afternoon, we were telling the girls that Santa would be coming this evening, and we asked what they were going to ask him for. Nina had a list of toys a mile long, but Maggie's mind was somewhere else. (Of course it was).

"I'm going to ask Santa for Liam to kiss me," she said.


"Kiss you?!" I said. "You're too young for kissing!"

She doesn't care what I think, though. So I told her I was pretty sure Santa just did toys, and first kisses were out of his range.

Poor Nina though was mortified that Maggie might actually ask Santa for a kiss from her "boyfriend." (According to her, he's her boyfriend. "Does he know he's your boyfriend?" I asked. "No," she said. "I haven't told him yet.")

"If you actually ask him that, I'm going to tell everyone you're not my sister," Nina threatened. She was horrified, as you can imagine. Beyond embarrassed.

Fortunately, Maggie just asked for a Pinkie Cooper doll. Big sigh of relief. But something tells me this isn't the last we'll be hearing on the subject of kissing.

(At least Liam is a kindergartener and, at the moment at least, has no tattoos.)

More Thanksgiving

What a delicious feast we had!

Salad, cranberry sauce, turkey, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes...

Cooks, busy in the kitchen...

I'm making gravy there, in case you're wondering. And Dad's carving the turkey.
Here's Nina, dissecting the gizzards. She's one of a kind!

I think we've already finished the leftover food, too. Yum! I almost can't wait for next Thanksgiving already... almost.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

I don't actually have any Thanksgiving pictures yet, because we didn't bring our camera next door. But here's a photo of the lemon meringue pie the girls and I made yesterday:

Wow, look at that! It tasted as good as it looked, too. It was Nina's idea, she'd never had lemon meringue and wanted to taste it. So we found a recipe and whipped it up!

It was amazing. Nina liked the lemon part more than the meringue, and Maggie liked the meringue more than the lemon. They're such a perfect pair.

Later on I'll get the pictures from mom and dad's camera and put some of those up.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

They're such great artists

My girls can really draw. They draw ALL THE TIME, and everything they draw is adorable. Two days ago, they were drawing their dolls. Here's what Maggie came up with:

That's Brittany on the left, what about baby Jane in the middle, and Jeanette on the right. 
Oops I mean the Elenore is in the middle. My bad.
 And here are Nina's:

Nina's are Courtney, Erin, and Brittany, also left to right.

Before she started on Courtney, she turned to me, made this pose:

and said, "Courtney is going to be like this."

And I was like, "Ok, sounds good to me."

Then I watched her draw Courtney, and laughed.

Because it kind of looks like Courtney is doing something else...
HA! But she specifically showed me the pose she was going for. So close, yet so far...

Monday, November 25, 2013

It snowed!

It snowed yesterday! We woke up to about an inch and a half of the beautiful, fluffy white stuff. Nina was so excited she got right into her snow pants, jacket, mittens, hat, scarf and boots and went outside.

It wasn't just snow, though. It was cold. Very cold. The news said yesterday set a record for lowest high on that date--28 degrees. And not a still air 28, but a frigid, blustry, gusty 28. Maggie and I did the best we could, but we didn't last as long out there as Nina did.

She really made the best of that inch and a half, too. Snow angels, attempts at sledding, snowballs... the girl just loves winter. God bless her little heart, I'm glad someone around here likes the season!

Today was another chiller, and tomorrow is only supposed to be marginally better. Brr. Here's to hoping this is just a quick snap and not the beginning of a God-awful winter. Where's my wood stove?

Saturday, November 23, 2013

And some old pics from the camera

I hadn't downloaded pictures from the grown-up camera in a long time (what can I say, the Lego camera rocks!), but since we brought to the frozen turkey hunt, I finally did. And look what's on there! Leaf pile photos!

She runs...

She jumps...

She sticks the landing!!

Maggie got in on the action too. Nothing better than a leaf pile!!

Frozen Turkey Hunt!

Ya ever go frozen turkey hunting? It looks something like this:

And by "something like this" I mean "exactly like this"

Note the stickers on the apples. I'll explain in a minute.

You see, a frozen turkey hunt, as held at the botanical gardens, involves hunting for apples hidden all over the grounds of the gardens. This year there were 600 apples, 200 of which had stickers on them (and one of which was golden).

The stickered apples get you a prize! You don't know what the prize is until you turn the apples in (well, show them. You get to keep the apples too), though word tends to leak, and we knew in advance that the orange stickers got a turkey.

So, go Maggie! She found us a frozen turkey!

Nina's apple got us a small bag of Maine maple syrup popcorn from Coastal Maine Popcorn company in town, and my plain, non-stickered apple will go into a nice pie or crisp. The golden apple is the big prize: it's worth 300 gallons of oil (or did I hear a rumor that it was 2 cords of firewood this year?). Very cool! We didn't find it.

Such a fun day anyway though! It was cool but not too cold, and the sun was bright and warm. Before this, we were shopping in town in our PJs for the annual Early Bird sale. It was a blast, and as always, sales abounded. However, no pictures from that. Maybe next year.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Sick again...

This has not been our year, let's just put it that way. On Monday Mrs. Holmes buzzed the intercom in my classroom and told me the school nurse was on the phone for me. Uh-oh, this can only mean one thing. Sick child. So I went down to the office and sure enough, Nina had a bad tummy ache  and needed to go home. I couldn't reach mom so I just went and got her, and she sat in the back of my classroom for my last period and studied some physics.

Then I went to pick up Maggie at the end of the day, and she was complaining of a tummy ache. With no prior knowledge of the fact that I'd already picked up Nina with the same ailment. Not good.

The three of us went home and spent the afternoon relaxing. Nina didn't feel any better, but didn't seem to feel much worse either. Same for Maggie.

The girls fell asleep around 8, but then Nina threw up at 10:00. Oh dear. I put her back to bed (luckily she'd made it to the bathroom, so no sheet changing required) and she shivered herself up to about 103 degrees in no more than 5 minutes. That girl has a truly impressive ability to spike a fever.

By 10:30 she was asleep and I was feeling pretty nauseous myself, so I went back downstairs and emailed the secretaries to request a sub. Then I wrote up lovely sub plans (truly. Debbie and Diane were so impressed that I heard from people all day today what amazing sub plans I write, and that I might one day have to teach a class on writing sub plans). Then I hunted for the thermometer, worried that I couldn't find it and Nina was really hot, couldn't sleep, maybe slept a little, got up when Nina's stomach started hurting, decided I needed to find the thermometer, finally found it, took her temp (102.6), figured it wasn't as bad as I'd feared, gave Nina medicine because her stomach started hurting really badly, then finally fell asleep for the night at about 3 am.

Tuesday was better for me and Maggie, but Nina still didn't feel very good. Maggie was fine, I'd just kept her home figuring that the odds were good she'd end up throwing up too, but she didn't. Still, she milked the sick thing for all it was worth.

At one point she wanted me to bring her tea, and I told her in just a minute, that I wasn't feeling well either and needed a little more time. Then I forgot it. When she remembered that she'd asked and I hadn't brought it, she got angry.

"WHERE'S MY TEA?!!" she demanded.

"In a minute Maggie," I said. I was tired. "Mommy's a little sick, I'll get it when I feel better."

"GRR!! Bring me my tea! I don't care if you're a little sick. I wish you were dead. I wish you were dead in the grave."

She really said that. Over tea.


She talks through gritted teeth when she's angry, it's too much.

I finally brought her tea, I was afraid not to.

Today she and I went to school but Nina stayed home again. She seems a lot better, so fingers crossed, we'll all be back tomorrow.

Even though Maggie can be rather cold, there's a chance she regrets her treatment of me and Nina yesterday (she made her cry, talking about how she doesn't care that Nina is sick). Tonight at bed, she was crying. She wants to have a chance to live her life over again--to be reborn. She says she knows which mistakes she made and she knows how to fix them. I asked her what her mistakes were (failing to kill Nick? Tampering with the brakes? I might really need to know...), but she wouldn't tell me. Fingers crossed that it's related to being unkind and she does know the feeling of remorse.

Ok, late. Bedtime.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Let me tell you a little bit about our Sundays...

I shouldn't "our Sundays" like there's some kind of predictability there, because they're kind of all over the map. But one kind of Sunday that we experience is the go to mass and Sunday school Sunday with a trip to Hannaford on the way home, and that's the kind of Sunday we had today. Nick usually doesn't accompany us on these kinds of Sundays, what with the church attendance, but he sometimes does if there's going to be food.

Today, being the third Sunday of the month, there was a full breakfast put on by the Knights of Columbus. Unfortunately, we failed to realize both that it was the third Sunday of the month, and the significance of this, so Nick missed out on a really fantastic breakfast. I'm talking home fries, three kinds of pancakes, sausages, scrambled eggs, fruit salad…. delicious.

After us girls ate all we could, which is probably less than Nick alone would have eaten, I took all the kids downstairs for Sunday school. I'm actually not teaching this year, but I do teach the pre-K to first grade class on the third Sunday when the regular teacher is away on a monthly business trip. (See? See how complicated our Sundays are?) However, the first communion class teacher was sick today, so I had all of the kids. Which was really just my two girls, another girl making communion, and a sweet little first grade boy.

We spent the class drawing and talking about what the sacraments are, and then about the concept of family. I asked the kids,

"What do you like to do with your families?"

and Maggie said (of course it was Maggie),

"We like to eat eyeballs. We eat like, ten eyeballs every day."

And that poor sweet little boy got wide-eyed and panic stricken.

"Really??" he asked, terror in his innocent little voice. He knows I'm Maggie's mom and Nina is her sister, so in his dear little mind, he had just found out he was trapped in a room with three people who eat eyeballs.

"No." I said sternly to Maggie. "We don't eat people's eyeballs. That's not a nice thing to say Maggie."

"Yes we do," she said. "We're really monsters. And we like to eat eyeballs."

Where the heck did this kid come from?? Fortunately Nina and the other girl set the record straight. Hopefully the kid comes back to Sunday school and doesn't have any nightmares.

What am I going to do with this kid?!!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Busy weekend!

On Friday, Nick took the girls to the Opera House's Second Annual Daddy/Daughter dance. What a fun time they had! Lots and lots of dancing, plus punch and cookies and who knows what else.

Look at those beauties!
There was a photographer there taking pictures of the dads and daughters, but they're not up on the click website yet.

But look what is on the website!

It's my Halloween cuties!

While the kids were out dancing it up, mom and I went out with the orphaned moms of daughters. Lovely!

Today we went to Brunswick to see a movie. Free Bird (or was it Free Birds?), a cute movie about two turkeys who travel back in time to get turkey off the Thanksgiving menu. What a great time! The girls absolutely loved it, and so did Nick and I.

Now all four of us are chillaxin on our own laptops. Ah, family life in the 21st century!

Oh, I almost forgot! Nina came up with the funniest joke at dinner today:

"What is a teacher's favorite cheese?"

(wait for it....)

"Graded cheese!"

Ha!! Get it? Graded instead of grated? She's so darn clever!!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Back home

Ah, it's nice to visit NY, but it sure is nice to be back!

We had the easiest ride home that we've had in 8 years. What a difference it makes now that both girls are over 5! We stopped twice for 5 minutes and made it in about 6.5 hours drive time. We stopped at Shaw's at the very end, which threw off our total trip time, but boy did we fly. Lovely!

After Shaw's we unloaded the car and Nick and the girls went to pick up the dogs while I started dinner. What a joyful reunion that was. The dogs bounded out of their pen and smothered them with love. Then when they got back to the house, I got my kisses and they generally ran around like crazy beasts for an hour. Adorable. They were so happy to be back home!

Then, school. Nina has started chorus on Tuesdays and she loves it. Maggie is too young to join and I had a staff meeting until 4, so mom picked her up and they got some fries at the Ebb Tide. Then both girls coerced mom into buying them toys at Sherman's. They sure know who to hit up for a new sticker book.

Then homework, bath, and bed. Where do the days go??

Sunday, November 10, 2013

WTC memorial site, friends, and family

What a big day. We got up at about 7:30 and gorged ourselves on the hotel breakfast. It was a great one--wide assortment of bread products, a toaster, a waffle machine for fresh belgian waffles, scrambled and hard-boiled eggs.. it went on and on. Then we drove to Astoria (because we know where to park there) and took the subway into downtown Manhattan. We walked for a bit on the Brooklyn bridge (but not all the way across, that would have taken too long), then headed over to the WTC memorial. You have to get tickets either online or, if they're not sold out, at the ticket place across from St. Paul's Chapel. Luckily they weren't sold out because we didn't know you needed to order them in advance, and we got some. Sunday morning in Manhattan, always the best time to do something last minute.

We waited on line for about half an hour to get in, but the memorial really was something. The footprints of the towers are reflecting pools about 30 feet below ground level, with water falling down the four sides. The names of all of the people who died at the towers, on the planes, and at the pentagon are all inscribed around the footprints, and because it's Veterans' Weekend, they had yellow roses in the names of anyone who served. Unfortunately, we forgot to bring a camera this weekend, so no pictures. Grr! I do have my iPad, but I didn't want to worry about having that all day and not breaking it, since it doesn't really belong to me. So, no pictures. Sorry.

After that we took the train back to Astoria and had a quick visit with our old friends the Mascias. Then it was off to Howard Beach for some more family time. Fun! The girls love playing with Yvonne and Renee, and Robert taught me about programming the LEGO NXT that I use in robotics class. Thank you Robert!

Now we're back at the hotel, watching a bit of TV before bed. The plan for the morning is to hit the road right after breakfast and get back to Maine before dinner. Cross your fingers for a traffic-free trip home!

Saturday, November 9, 2013


We had a great trip down to NJ. Whew! I was questioning the wisdom of the after-school trip down when we were stuck in traffic in MA at 6 pm, but it was all good. That bit of traffic on 495 was pretty much all we hit, and then the kids fell asleep and we drove 4 hours without stopping! It was like a miracle. We got to Betsy's place in NJ just after 10 pm, the kids played for a bit (we woke Elias up with all our air mattress pumping mayhem), and we were all conked out by 11:30 or midnight.

Of course, we woke up promptly at 6 am for more mayhem, and the kids played pretty much nonstop until we left. We hit a playground about a mile from Betsy's house and stayed until we were too frozen to play any more.

We had some really fantastic NJ pizza for lunch, and then headed over to Howard Beach. The girls fell asleep in the car again on the way, and we had another peaceful, traffic-free trip. Knock on wood, but the driving so far has been a dream. We visited with great-grandma and great-grandpa until 6, then checked in to the hotel. Showers and dinner followed, and now we're watching TV in bed and snacking.

Tomorrow the plan is to head into Manhattan first thing, then meet up with the family at grandma and grandpas. Should be a busy, exhausting day!

Oh, I forgot! We were trying to get Maggie and Nina to speak a little German for great-grandma and great-grandpa. They weren't too keen on it, but we just wanted a few words.

"Maggie, what's German for cup?" great-grandma asked.

"Burp," said Maggie. She didn't belch, she actually said the word.

"Maggie," I admonished. "Don't be rude."

"I can tell you the German word for plate," Maggie volunteered, peacemaking. "It's fart."

I gave up. It only goes downhill from there, you know, and I didn't want great-grandma and great-grandpa finding out about her extensive fluency in expletives.


Thursday, November 7, 2013

definitely on the mend

Both girls were home from school on Wednesday and both went today, though I stayed home today. Apparently I looked awful yesterday because people kept asking if I felt alright. So I got everything together for the sub yesterday afternoon and then prepared for a day off.

I guess I really did need it, I pretty much slept until noon today! I got up with the girls at 6 and got them off to school, then went back to bed from 7 till almost 9, put up a load of laundry and steamed that vomit stain out of the carpet in the family room, then went back to bed from about 10:30 to noon. It was lovely! And so is the carpet again.

Now the girls are home. I did dope Nina up with some ibuprofen and dimetapp on her way out the door, so she felt fantastic all day. Dimetapp and other over-the-counter cold medicines are not allowed in kids under 6 any more (apparently they don't work and very occasionally cause a fatal reaction, so not worth the risk!), so Maggie had to deal with her lingering stuffiness and cough with just some honey. She did just fine too though.

I knew Nina was feeling better yesterday when she started dissecting the chicken bones. She wanted to see if there was marrow inside the bigger ones (of course she did! Haven't you always wondered the same thing??), so I grabbed our biggest bread knife and hacked it open for her. Lo and behold, marrow!

Then we stuck it under the microscope. She's such a little scientist!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The sickness spreads

First it was Maggie. She walked into my classroom after school on Monday and she just looked totally done. Glazed eyes, no energy, an flushed cheeks. We got home and she laid on the couch until I carried her to Mom's for dinner and laid her on the couch over there. Then I carried her home, brushed her teeth for her, and she conked out. She had just a slight fever, but I knew she'd have to stay home today.

Nina seemed fine, but woke up this morning complaining of a hurting tummy and sore throat. She didn't look bad or have a fever though, so I took her to school anyway.


The nurse called at around 9 and Nick picked her up. She spent most of the day on the couch as Maggie steadily recovered. Now they're both dancing, so I'm sure they'll both be back at school tomorrow.

Me, I'm not so sure about. I'm exhausted and just generally feeling under the weather. I'll probably go straight to bed after the kids and sleep it off.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Morning conversations....

I've been driving the girls to school in the morning with me, because it's been cold waiting there for the bus, and we get a few more minutes to chat.

Mistake! That chatting part that is!

On Thursday morning, Nina was talking something, I don't remember what, and she pointed straight up and said, "That's where God lives." I pointed north and said, "Or maybe over that way?" and Nina said, "No, that's where Santa lives." And Maggie says, "Hmph, I don't believe in God."

Nice. A 5 -year-old atheist. Classy. A lifelong Catholic and Sunday school teacher, and I can't even get my kid to believe in God. Good think I'm not teaching her class this year!

Yesterday morning the conversation continued. At 7 am, not my best philosophical time, but you do what you can. We were driving on Dover Road, and she said,

"Why does God let people get injured?"

And I explained about free will, and how God wants us to be able to make our own decisions, even though sometimes that means getting hurt. And then she said,

"If God wants us to make our own choices, how come you're always telling me what to do?"


She didn't say it in a sweetly inquisitive voice like Nina would, either. It was an accusation. Basically, she was accusing me of going against God's will. Like I'm the devil's mignon or something!

Unbelievable. I said something about it being my job to keep her safe and teach her things, but that when she's an adult she'll be able to make all of her own decisions.

I give up. I'm going to start sending her to the Baptist church and let them deal with her. Ha!