about a dream: 2014

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Best of of 2014--A year in review

Time for the annual best of the year round up. First, Maggie:

Me: So, dear, what was your favorite thing you did this year?
Maggie: My birthday.
Me: What was so fun about your birthday?
Maggie: Everything!
Me: Did you like playing minigolf?
Maggie: Yes. I liked the game thingies too (in the arcade).
Me: What are you excited about for next year?
Maggie: The new American Girl Doll of the year, and the SpongeBob movie, and the new season of Every Witch Way, and a lot of fun stuff that are coming up like my biiiiirthday. Agaaaain.
Me: What is something you learned this year?
Maggie: I learned that ladybugs can't only be red and black.
Me: What can they be?
Maggie: I forgot!
Me: What was your favorite song in 2014?
Maggie: Dark Horse.
Me: Do you have any fun memories of that song?
Maggie: Yes. When we danced it out!
Me: What was your favorite meal in 2014?
Maggie: Jello!
Me: What was your favorite trip of 2014?
Maggie: The American Girl Doll store. I want to go there again. I just want to get one thing
Me: What's that?
Maggie: Well, it's something for a pet. I have no idea what's in it. It's where I got the dalmatian.
Me: Anything else you want to tell me about 2014?
Maggie: The bucket challenge. Getting dumped on.
Me: What was hard for you in 2014?
Maggie: I don't think anything. Oh, I know, when I got that huge scrape on the sidewalk. You know, the one you can kind of still see. But there was an up side to that--getting a lot of treats!
Me: What's your resolution for 2015?
Maggie: Be more loving.

Me: So, dear, what was your favorite thing you did this year?
Nina: Hmm... Going to the American Girl Doll store in NY, Christmas, and when I won the poster contest.
Me: What are you excited about for next year?
Nina: January first when the new American Girl Doll comes out, January 5th because that's when the new season of Every Witch Way starts, and January 16th to go to Paddington.
Me: What is something you learned this year?
Nina: Well, I learned how to multiply big numbers.
Me: I know you learned about Queen Elizabeth.
Nina: Oh yeah, and Queen Elizabeth.
Me: What was your favorite song in 2014?
Nina: Lips are Moving.
Me: Do you have any fun memories of that song?
Nina: When I was watching the Halo Awards she sang that song, and All About That Bass.
Me: I thought for sure you would have said Happy.
Nina: Oh yeah, that is one of my favorites too. And Happy.
Me: What was your favorite meal in 2014?
Nina: Fondue.
Me: Who made the fondue?
Nina: Me. And you.
Me: What was your favorite trip of 2014?
Nina: New York and Canada.
Me: What did you like about Canada?
Nina: It was snowy and it was a new place.
Me: Anything else you want to tell me about 2014?
Nina: My American Girl Doll birthday. The spa. It was fun.
Me: What challenged you in 2014?
Nina: Moxie getting his surgery. Because it was scary. It scared me because it was on his neck and he's old, and he needed to have surgery. Oh, I thought of something else too! When I went down that really big hill and fell off my bike. It hurt and I was scared, and also I lost my tooth.
Me: What's your resolution for 2015?
Nina: To go underwater and to get more work done around the house. Or at least some.
Me: What kind of work?
Nina: Like, work for the puppies. Like, working like you do for the puppies. Like cleaning or vacuuming.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas!

Santa came!!

Last night we set out his snacks and carrots for the "rain"deer (get it? RAIN deer? Because it's been raining nonstop?! Nina came up with that!)

The carrot placards were Nina's idea. Adorable!
You can see the names in this one
Then when we woke up, the carrots were gone, and Santa had written a note! He said thanks for the snacks and coffee we'd left him. You're welcome Santa!

Happiness and Joy!
 Nina was the first up, at just after 6. "It's so dark!" she said. "Maybe the power went off overnight and the clocks reset? Because it can't be 6 in the morning and be this dark."

Good guess, but nope! It's an hour til sunrise and a rainy, stormy day. But that didn't keep us from opening gifts. Even the boys got presents in their stockings!

Dog biscuits! Their favorites!

The insane joy of Christmas morning!

Such a great morning! The girls took nearly two hours to open all of their presents because they wanted to stop and play with everything. I love that! They didn't just tear through from one thing to the next. Such sweeties!

It was a good Christmas for all! I got a lovely pearl bracelet, a beautiful pendant, a pizza cutter, a new whisk, a coupon good for Nina to vacuum the couches for a whole week, and a Christmas ornament!

Nick got new gloves, amazing slippers that are better described as pillows for his feet, and a new phone! I am so proud of the girls for keeping that a secret for 2 weeks, they are Christmas champions!

Next we'll go to church for the community supper, then over to Mom and Dad's for more presents. Merry Christmas everyone!!!!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Christmas in Boothbay!

It's finally starting to happen!

We cut down our tree yesterday, not too shabby! This is actually the tree that was growing next to the tree we cut down last year. It's bare-ish on the other side, but that conveniently makes it easier to tuck into a corner. Perfect!

Friday after school was gingerbread house time

I mean, it's from a kit, but we put it together and decorated. It's a holly jolly weekend!

File this one under "dogs who don't realize they're too big to be lap dogs." This boy loves his sisters so much!!

Two more days of school. I'm not so excited about that, but the girls are. Fun days and a Christmas concert planned for them, I'll see if I can get my high school students to do any work. It's gonna be like pulling teeth!

Friday, December 19, 2014

Christmas in NYC!

So, first off, I have NO PICTURES. So sorry! I forgot the camera, but even if I hadn't, it's hard to carry around, and I haven't had time to download pictures, so they probably wouldn't be up anyway. My words will just have to do to paint pictures in your mind. Hopefully Uncle Henry and Aunt Marilyn will somehow get photos along to me one of these days, because we did get some cute ones by the fountain.

Well, the trip started off on Friday morning with me and the girls in mom and dad's car to Newburyport. Nick had opted to stay home with the dogs, which, considering how crazy crowded the city and crazy expensive and crowded the American Girl Doll store was, turned out to be an excellent idea. But more on that later.

I was still fighting off this awful, never-ending cold, too, so I was happy that I wasn't driving. I get spacey when I'm sick, and it's just not a safe way to drive. Anyway, when we got to Newburyport, we shifted people and luggage around so that the girls and I were with Erik, Isabelle, and Joey in the big 7-seater SUV they'd rented. Some among us were nervous about how this might go (Erik!), but it went great! Joey was in the middle row, and he was so happy to be able to look out on the girls. No tears! Except when he was hungry and that food didn't get in his mouth fast enough! Ha!

He also slept for all of 40 minutes, but that's ok! We hit a bit of traffic on 95 because we opted to follow the GPS (never again!), but still, not so bad.

Friday night we ate dinner at Uncle Thomas and Aunt April's, excellent. Mom and Dad had picked up Vanessa at LaGuardia, and we all had a joyful reunion. Henry and Marilyn came by with their girls too, and even Veronica was around.

Vanessa and the girls and I stayed at a hotel on Cross Bay, and Saturday morning we pretty much went straight out to the graveyard. Dad took Nina and Maggie to play at Charles Park and they saw our old house, then went to McDonald's and Great-grandma and Great-grandpa's. Burial went smoothly, lunch was delicious (I'm pretty sure they made the minestrone with a touch of escarole, amazing!), and we were back in Howard Beach before dinner.

Saturday night was more family, this time joined by Uncle Vito and his girlfriend Veronica, cousin Jenny, Great-grandma and Great-grandpa, and Aunt Maria and Uncle Charlie. Whew! Tons of people, tons of fun! Vanessa, mom and I even took the girls for a spin around Howard Beach to check out the Christmas lights. They weren't quite as over-the-top as they were in our day, but they beat anything we have in Maine by a long shot, so the girls were excited.

Sunday morning was yet more mad fun. Mom and I drove the girls to Brooklyn, parked at Peter's place,  and took the train from there into Manhattan. We got out at Times Square, walked to Rockefeller Center/St. Patrick's Cathedral, and miraculously met right up with Henry, Marilyn, and the girls.

What a zoo Fifth Avenue was! Tons and tons of people. Times Square wasn't as bad because the pedestrian zone element gives you room to spread out, but Fifth Avenue just has the narrow little sidewalks.

We did it, though. We saw St. Patrick's, which is being cleaned and looks white and lovely on the outside, the tree at Rockefeller Center, the Sacks store windows, and then the American Girl Doll store.

Wow, the American Girl Doll Store. It was a zoo, of course, but it was so cool. It kind of looked like a museum inside, with each main character doll behind glass with all of her outfits and accessories on display. There were other displays too, like all of the look-alikes and pets. My favorite was the hair salon. A dozen dolls sitting doll-sized chairs, with doll-sized plastic hair salon smocks around their necks, ladies in black aprons trimming with tiny scissors and brushing with toothbrushes. It was hilarious, absurd, and charming, all at the same time.

Then we saw the giant tree, which didn't impress the girls so much. I guess they see a lot of big trees, so that's fair.

We ate some pretzels, froze when the sun went down, and then trained back to Peter's. There was time before dinner for a soak in the hot tub, pure luxury!

In the morning we had an easy trip back to Howard Beach to pick up mom and dad, and then smooth sailing all the way home. Fun, but exhausting!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Pre-Halloween fun

 Maggie came home with a partially completed Halloween drawing that she finished after school, and I must say, it's really fantastic. Look:

Note the craters in the moon, the howling wolf at the far right, the monster plants, the cracked and bleeding walls, the bats and black cats, and the ghost in the window.

She ran out of space for a cemetery off to one side, so it's on the reverse:

See the hands reaching up from the graves? 

Yesterday we were goofing around and she stuck a rubber band on her foot. "Oh no, something's wrong with my foot!" she said.

"Oh dear!" I said. "You know what happened? Toe trolls got to you! They do things like this," I started.

"Tell me more!" she replied with big wide eyes, as she slipped Nick's giant headphones over her ears.

Sassed! By a 6 year old!! I give up...

The Ebb Tide is closed

It was a sad week for us; Thursday was the Ebb Tide's last day.

They ran a bunch of specials from Monday through Thursday, so it was a busy and exciting last week. The girls took the bus there after school on either Monday or Tuesday, and all three of us went on Wednesday and stayed for about 2 hours. So much fun, so much macaroni and cheese! We were going to stay and have dinner with Nick and dad, who were due in at around 5:30, but it was just so busy we had to go!

Then on Thursday we went in for dessert and the very last close. So bittersweet! Nina was served the very last meal--chicken fingers and french fries--and Maggie had a milkshake. Erik Morrison was there, and of course Pete had come up from NY earlier in the week and was there too. I forgot our camera (grr!), but I borrowed Morrison's, so hopefully one day I'll have some pictures of us on the last day.

Then it was closing time! Maggie got sad so we scooted on out. There's a big hole in our hearts today! Hopefully someone will buy it and run it exactly as is. Fingers crossed!

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

What an adventure. First, I'd like to take full responsibility for everything that went wrong. It was totally my fault. See, I made a family trivia quiz for all of us to take on Thanksgiving afternoon, and over the course of the month that I was making it, I said (again and again) "Wow, nothing's really ever gone wrong with our Thanksgivings. We've never had any disasters," and "Things have always gone really smoothly for us for Thanksgiving."

Never say things like that!

The storm was first forecast on Friday or Saturday, but that was too far off to really worry about. The models were giving conflicting forecasts, probably rain along the coast though.

It was 60 degrees on Tuesday too. So warm! So sunny! But the models had converged, and it looked like we'd be getting snow.

The girls and I left early Wednesday morning, so we could get to Newburyport before the snow started (it was still supposed to begin as rain).

Just north of Portland, it started to snow. Within 5 minutes, it started to really snow. It was a heavy, wet mix of snow and freezing rain, but at least it was melting on the highway, and things weren't too slippery.

The girls and I got to Erik's just fine, they had some friends over, watched some Maleficent, and things seemed to be looking up.

They actually spent most of the movie running around and yelling, but let's pretend for posterity that it looked like this the whole time.

Then the cancellations poured in.

Maria and Lee were just too tired after cleaning out Grandma's apartment to make it.

Gina, Lou, Jessica, and Valentina wouldn't be coming. Weather.

Uncle Vito and Veronica were undeterred and on their way. Mom, Dad, and Nick were scheduled to arrive Thursday morning.

Around 7 we got a phone call from Uncle Vito. Car accident. They were unhurt, but not coming. Two more down...

In the morning, we learned that Twin Cove Road had lost power at about 9 pm. There was a tree down on the lines at the bottom of the hill and one line had fallen across the road. No one knew if it was live or not, so they decided to wait until CMP came by to deal with it. Dinner would be postponed, but not cancelled.

Meanwhile, cousins played:

So, so cute.

Mom and dad called back. Dad had tested the line, was pretty sure it wasn't live, and moved it out of the way. They were on their way!

So what started out as 18 for dinner had dwindled down to 9 (including Joey. You can't not count him even though he didn't get to eat any of the feast!)

This would be the last time we were warm for days...

So, I headed back to Boothbay at about 6. The poor doggies were home alone, and I wanted to keep an eye on the houses. Sure enough, I got back, and the power was still out. Both houses were about 50 degrees, so I piled some blankets on the bed and went to sleep.

I got up at about 6 am, still no power. I went to the neighbors' place (they have a generator), and turned on the heat and water. Then I shoveled, checked on Ursula, shoveled some more, checked on the houses, and even read a little. Pete G was in town, so we had some warm lunch at the Ebb Tide, and then I spent 40 minutes heating water from the fish tank on mom and dad's (propane) stove so the fishies wouldn't die. Who says I don't love animals?

Back in Newburyport, Nina and Maggie played in the snow. Snow and cold are fun when you have electricity and a warm house to come home to.

"Hot cocoa, a blanket, and TV would be perfect right now," Maggie had said.

Everyone got home, still no power. The houses were back down to about 47, so dad lit a fire in the woodstove and Nick and I borrowed a generator. We ordered some pizzas and ate dinner at the Sheard's warm house.

We went to bed (all of us in the one bed. Warmth!), and the house was about 58 degrees. Overnight low was 17 degrees, and the house was down to 47 when we woke up. Generator back on, and we made do.

Finally the power came on at about 10:30!! Rejoicing!!

It went out again while I was typing this, but fortunately that only lasted about 10 minutes, and now it's on again. Fingers crossed anyway!!!

What a Thanksgiving!!!!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Braced for some cold!

Brrr! And, Ewww!!! I hate the cold. Hate. But it's just a quick snap, and really nothing compared to what the rest of the country is going through. A few days in the 30s, then we'll creep back up to the 40s and 50s. I'll survive, most likely.

Poor Maggie stayed home today. Loose stools! Poor kid.

Nina took Bus 1 to the Ebb Tide by herself after school, because it was early release day. I got a phone call at work at 1:30--it was the school, and she wasn't on Bus 3. "She's taking Bus 1 to the Ebb Tide," I said. "Oh, ok," they said. Good, no big deal.

Then I got another phone call at 2:00. "Nina's not on Bus 1. Did your husband come and get her?"


Oh my God. Where was my child. I dashed down to my classroom in case she'd wound up there. No. Nina. I ran to the elementary school. The principal was telling Teresa to get Lyndon, the bus driver boss who can radio all the other buses, and have him instruct every bus in the fleet to pull over and ask for Nina. At the same time, Lisa was calling the Ebb Tide to check with mom.

Lisa got mom, Nina was there. There was a substitute bus driver on 1 who didn't know Nina, and she'd gotten off at the stop by Red Cup, not realizing that this year, the bus stopped right in front of the Ebb Tide, Of course, as Lisa predicted, mom noticed that the bus had gone by and would have called the school if Nina hadn't gotten off, and in the end all was well.

About a half hour later, while I was finishing up my meetings, I noticed that my abs were in burning pain, as though I'd done a hundred situps. Stress! I'm sure I'll have a dozen more gray hairs and a few new wrinkles tomorrow. Sigh....

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Now for some funnies...

Last week, I was playing a monster high app with Maggie on the (TINY!) iPod. I tried to select a necklace for the monster girl we were designing, but it wouldn't click.

"Here," said Maggie sweetly. "I'll click that for you. Your fat fingers are useless."


A week before that, she out of the blue says to me, "I peeked on you when you were in the shower the other day, and I saw your butt. It's fleshy, and bumpy, and moley."

For no reason she tells me this!

I thought she'd said moldy, which really hurt, but she clarified that no, it just has moles on it.

So, whew, I guess. My self-esteem is just through the roof.

I might have to buy this swimsuit:

It's Beyonce, and her swimsuit says "99 problems but my ass ain't one"

Ha! Take that Maggie! I'm gettin' it!

Busy, busy, same old story

I hope I can get back in the habit of blogging more often, but boy is it hard. Busy with work, the house, the kids, the dogs, and so little time left for anything else, much less blogging!

Since I last posted, great-grandma died, so that's kept us all busy. I was at the hospital on Saturday, but I didn't take the girls with me, since she always looks so sick and frail at the hospital (it's something about the gown and bed combo I guess), and I didn't want them to get scared. She was very alert, very talkative (the nurse said the steroids will do that), but hard to understand with her oxygen mask on. She had very bad pnemonia at this point, and her heart was beginning to fail. She died Sunday morning, and I went out early with Mom and Dad to catch the 11:00 am mass at St. John's with Jessica. It was very nice.

Jessica said that grandma died in her sleep, and it was very peaceful and quiet. She didn't struggle to breathe and didn't choke, but her heartrate just slowly dropped until it stopped.

At around 1:00 on Sunday Nick came by with the girls, and we took Valentina with us to go see Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. It was cute! We laughed a lot. We got a giant popcorn and soda (unlimited refills!), and Val promptly dumped half the bucket on the floor. Kids!! She's enormous by the way Vanessa and Erik, almost as tall as Jessica. And only 14! Unbelievable.

Monday was back to work and school, and the family all came to mom and dad's after dinner.

Tuesday the kids and I had no school because it was Veteran's Day, so I went back to Brunswick with mom to help clean out Grandma's apartment.

So that takes us to today, which was just an ordinary early release Wednesday. The girls went to the Ebb Tide after school while I did meetings, and I picked them up after that. Now we're all pretty drained and heading to bed soon.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Happy Halloween!

I'll confess up front that out photos from the day are lame. I didn't have the camera, I think Maggie's little friend Rose had it most of the time, so the pickins are slim. But we were just having too much fun to take pictures!

First, the girls and I raced over to the library for the Halloween parade. Raced over after some rollerskating in the parking lot time, that is.

We threw their costumes on (skeleton bride and zombie cheerleader) and trick-or-treated at the local businesses lining Townsend avenue. "GIMMIE CANDY!" Maggie joyously exclaimed at the first businesses. Her sweet, genuinely enthusiastic voice, filled with all the joy of childhood, made the statement sound adorable, not bratty and demanding. Everyone within earshot laughed, but I reminded her to say "Trick or Treat." (I pretend she's not mine in situations like this and just call her "Little girl." Sue me.)

Then it was on to our friends the Campbells for some pizza and trick or treating on their street. Erik may have stolen Craig and Elizabeth from me, but I can retaliate by stealing Jay and Gish. Ha!! Take that Erik!! They're MY friends now!

Ok, they're Maggie and Nina's friends. Here are Maggie and Rose:

They did more candy-handing-outing than trick-or-treating
It was sweet, because Rose decided that she wanted to hand out candy and not trick or treat. Maggie started off trick or treating, but then decided that Rose might be lonely, so she went back to the house to keep her company. Aww! They're such good buddies!

I have no pictures of Grace and Nina. Sorry! But here are our pumpkins:

That's Maggie's on the left, Nina's on the right. They were REALLY scary when we got home last night, because they'd molded to near piles of mush. Maggie's was so rotted that it collapsed in my hands when I tried to chuck it into the woods, so now it's a pile of mush in the lawn. Classy. I'm sure the dogs will eat it mom, don't worry.


Friday, October 24, 2014

What a birthday!!

Such a big day! It started with some amazing presents in the morning:

Presents and cards and presents oh my!
 To Des! Frume Maggie! So darn cute.

But she wasn't so cute any more after school, when she transformed into....


Man, that is one creepy little kid!
 The dead flowers were her idea. Perfect!

Adorable, sweet Nina was a cheerleader. A ZOMBIE cheerleader!!

I made the shirt, but the skirt is the one Karen made Anna years ago.
 She made the zombie leg tights all by herself. They both looked great.

Then, I've neglected to mention this, but Maggie's had her first wiggly tooth. It's gotten really loose lately, then today she bit down on something and it got really loose.  Sure enough, we picked her up from the party, and look!:

My baby lost her first tooth!!!!!! What a day!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Damariscotta pumpkin festival

Photos! The pumpkins were SO COOL! And it was a banner year for growth, holy moly. Check them out!

Kissing pumpkins, so Maggie joined in on the love!

Medusa! Scary! This was probably a 300 lb pumpkin.
 Look at the mastery on this bad boy:

This is a painted pumpkin. So big I couldn't even get far enough away!
But the winner is...
 Can you see that tag? It says this pumpkin weighs one thousand, six hundred, and ninety-five pounds.

Just, wow. Let that sink in for a minute. One THOUSAND, six HUNDRED, ninety-five. Just a ninety-five pound pumpkin would be ridiculously big, but this!!

We didn't catch the regatta, that was on Monday. What's a pumpkin regatta you ask? Surely Mainers aren't crazy enough to hollow out a pumpkin, attach an outboard motor, and race them, are they?


Marley has been all about mommy lately

It used to be that Moxie was my mommy's boy, but I dunno, what do you think?

This has been us every day this week. It would be easier to cuddle if he wasn't bigger than me!

You can't see Moxie here, but he's curled up at my feet. They can't handle it when I'm back to work. I'll have to quit to be a full-time stay at home mommy to my fur babies!

I'm not the only one getting the snuggles though...

He loves to put his arms around her and give her big hugs! They may be hairy and make a ton of work, but what can I say... we love these guys!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Some apple picking.

Yeah, some. Ha! We've taken home about 50 lbs of apples so far this season, which primarily has been turned into 50 lbs of apple pie and apple crisp. Yum!

I think it was last weekend that Mom, me, and the girls met up with our old friends the Mosses at Hope Orchards. It was a lovely drive and beautiful, sunny fall day. And of course, yummy!

We sat on these pumpkins, but didn't buy any. They were pricey pumpkins!!

Here's some teenager we found there.... oh wait!! OMG it's NINA!
 We walked a bit to the pickin' trees, and picked ourselves some apples. Not too many apples, because they were nearly as expensive as their pumpkins.

Happy kids, happy-ish grandma. She doesn't love the farm scene.
Some other friends of ours were there too, so it was  fun time. We ran around the trees, jumped over puddles, and generally had a good, old-fashioned, farmyard kind of day.

But we didn't get that many apples, so I convinced everyone to hit up a second orchard in Damariscotta. See, Biscay Orchard's apples are only 80 cents per pound, and they give FREE drops. Free. That means the apples lying on the ground under the trees are yours for the taking. So we bought a few more pounds, and got maybe 10 more pounds of drops. By then we were super hungry too, so the girls got some cider and snacks at the farmstand.

And see how beautiful their apples are?
Wonderful fall we're having. Today I baked up one apple crisp, one apple pie, and one pumpkin pie. Is it summer vacation yet, because I need a break!!

Busy weekend!

First, more photos from homecoming:

Walking. Like an Egyptian.
 Fantastic costume if I don't say so myself. I pulled that bad boy together in about 15 minutes. See, Thursday was a super hectic day. The high school ran a short day that was over at 11, to give the kids time to get their floats and bonfire together. Maggie had her final cavity appointment at 1:45 in Brunswick, so I picked up the girls, visited mom and grandma, fixed the cavities, hit up WalMart for another 50 lbs of dog food and some gold fabric, then raced home to make the costumes. Then the three of us ran out again, oversaw the kids on the float, and then watched the bonfire.

The bonfire was mostly brush, so it burned up fast and hot, then burned down fairly quickly. But it was a lovely clear night with no wind at all, so perfect for a bonfire.

Finally we got home around 9 or so. The girls had Friday off but I had to be at work. Sheesh, no wonder I'm still exhausted on Monday!

Saturday, October 11, 2014


What a fun week we've had! On Thursday was homecoming at the high school, and this year they resurrected the Homecoming Parade tradition. I'm a junior class advisor, and the kids asked if I'd chaperone their float during the parade. I said no. But then I said Yes, if my kids could ride on the float too. They said absolutely!

The theme was ancient Egypt, and here's the final product:

Such cuties, all of them!!
The girls and I put those costumes together in about 20 minutes from an old sheet, some fabric we'd bought earlier in the day, and a few odds and ends from around the house. Not bad!

The girls had a blast riding on the float. I rode in the back of the pickup pulling the float (the teenager at the far right of the photo is an absolute doll, and she watched the girls on the float). Then we went to the bonfire, always a lot of fun.

Erik, Isabelle, Joey, and Chester had arrived around 5:00, and all of us plus Grandma and Grandpa and Isabelle's mom and aunt were there, so super fun family time.

Then yesterday I had an inservice day, but the girls got to hang out with everyone. They even went on a hike and picnic lunch to Oven's Mouth.

This morning Nina and I made pancakes and applesauce for breakfast (with a little help from Maggie!), and soon we'll head out to the Fall Foliage Festival. I'll have more pics, especially of Joey's adorable smile, I promise!

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Millions of peaches

Peaches for me
Millions of peaches
Peaches for free

And they really are free! Just when I was ready to give up on our limb-dropping, branch-dying, trunk-cracking peach tree, it goes and produces a bounty of sweet, delicious, free peaches for us! Hooray!!


32 peaches, about 1/3 of what I've gotten thus far
 Some of them look utterly perfect, like peaches from the grocery store. Others have blemishes, but they're only superficial. They taste heavenly.

This morning, I blanched these 32, peeled them, and cut and froze about 20. The rest I cooked into this gorgeous peach cobbler:

It tastes amazing...
 I thought it'd be dessert today, but with the way the girls are already eating it, it's not going to last until lunchtime.

This is the second such peach cobbler we've made, and I think all of these delicious desserts are starting to show up on Nina's figure. What do you think?

She's looking a little bigger, isn't she?
 Especially right there in the hip/butt area..

Kidding! It's a pillow suit!

Aside from the peach preparation, life here has been busy but good. Wednesday were our high school parent-teacher conferences and open house, so that was a super long day for me. That was also the day Nick got in from Austria, so dad picked him up at the bus stop at 9 pm and he got home around 10. The girls were out for the night, but they had their joyful reunion in the morning.

On Friday Nick chaperoned Maggie's field trip to Squirrel Island (an island which, in spite of its name, has no squirrels living on it), and they came home exhausted.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Sick, sick, sick...

I started it. I could feel the impending tickle of doom in my throat over the weekend, but I was hoping I would get over it without getting really sick, because that's ever happened.

Monday I felt stuffy and tired, so Monday night I took some nyquil and fell asleep around 8. I woke up about a quarter to six feeling pretty good, so I was excited that maybe the worst was past. Ha.

Then about a half hour later I was making the girls lunches, when all of a sudden I felt like I was going to pass out. Ugh! So I sat down, put my head down, ate some breakfast, but it didn't get much better. I took the girls to school and told the office I'd need a sub for the day. I couldn't shake that light-headed, about to pass out feeling. The sub came in at the end of first period and I went home and slept until it was time to pick the girls up.

Wednesday was better-ish. Maggie had diarrhea after school and told me, "Oh, yeah, I've had diarrhea all day!" I said, "Oh, you could have told the nurse and she would have called me or grandma to take you home," but Maggie wasn't fazed by it. "Nah," she said. "I was fine. I just went to the bathroom a lot, pooped a lot, went to the bathroom a lot, pooped a lot." No big deal! Just some loose stools, after all!

By Thursday Nina was sneezing like mad. On Friday both girls stayed home, and Nina seemed to get better while Maggie started to go downhill.

Saturday was worse for everyone. Around 9 in the morning Nina felt like she couldn't breathe well, which is a symptom of one of the strands of the virus going around, but the pediatrician said to give her an NSAID to reduce the inflammation in her chest, and that plus a decongestant really helped. By lunchtime they were both doing much better. See:

Glowing with health!
They were enjoying a fresh "Meals on Mom" of soup with pastene and some flowers. Sometimes I get carried away...

Lovely flowers though, I should just give up entirely on growing veggies...

Sunday they were better, but still totally stuffed up and coughing a lot. Today Nina stayed home (questionable symptoms including a "tummyache" and "headache"), but tomorrow we'll all be back (knock on wood, of course).

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Sunflower bounty!

I've waited and waited for this day, and it's finally here!!

It's a bloomin' patch of sunflowers!!
 Here's some up close:

Some have light centers

Some have dark centers. Excitement!!
Today after school was a community BBQ at the elementary school and family night at the book fair. We ate hot dogs and hamburgers (no cheeseburgers, Maggie ate potato chips and salad), and then played at the school playground before picking out some books.

Then we jumped on the trampoline. Best $250 we ever spent!

This child is never short on energy
 Here she is doing a flippersault:
She's always a blur on the trampoline. And she invented the word flippersault.
 Her Highness Queen Margarete had a touch of a headache and did less bouncing

She IS growing like a weed, but this photo looks pretty stretched out   

Now the girls are doing sticker books before we get ready for bed. The days just fly!