about a dream: 2015

Thursday, September 24, 2015

We had the most amazing summer

I complained all winter long about the cold (and rightfully so, it was brutal), but this summer was just so perfect, I have to note that. Clear blue skies, highs in the 80s, warm nights with gentle breezes... it was just perfect. The pool was in the mid-80s all through July and August, it rarely rained. No better summer ever has, or ever will, pass again.

In mid-August I left the air mattress out on the deck off my bedroom and the girls and I were out nearly every night watching the meteor showers. They put on a great show, and the mosquitoes pretty much left us alone. I wish we'd gotten around to pitching the tent and sleeping out there, or better yet, gone camping, but such is summer. Short and sweet.

We had some fun movie nights, and one night the girls made these:

Ok, so we're kind of falling behind on the spelling. And penmanship... (this is Nina's sign). Here's Maggie's:

Excellent spelling, and the rendition of Big Hero is spot-on.

But this sign of Nina's is SPOT-ON:

Because it was HOT!

Then, there was this. Perfection:

In summer, all u gotta do is:
Dinner out
Get Dirty!
Watch movies at Maggie and Nina's fun theater.

Yup, that sums it up perfectly!

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Stone wall photos--finally!

I finished the wall about a month ago; here are some photos at long last!

First, from the front right:

Note how wonderfully level the walls are!

All of the sod is up, but I haven't added any new gravel yet. I'll add some next month, after the stuff already there has a chance to settle down.

Also, some flower pics. This year, I did some succession planting in the front--cosmos sowed among the lilies, to bloom late in the summer, after the lilies had died. Stunning success!

I'll have to get a nice photo of my biceps too. Those stones were heavy!

Sunday, September 13, 2015

The bricks...

I never posted a photo of the area off the basement that I bricked earlier this summer with the bricks I pulled up from the old walkway. Here it is:

Look at that level grade. Like a pro!

From the front. I put just regular sand in between the bricks, not the more expensive super sand. It looks so good!

On another note, check this out:

Fried lard bits. OMG, so good. They're going into a dish very soon. There are some things that I've learned from the Austrians that I will be forever grateful for. I believe Nick calls this "grammeln."

Also, no bake cookies have been a regular around here lately. For this recipe, I cut the sugar in half and added slivered almonds. Also a winner. This will be going in the lunchboxes all week, or possibly all year.

Off to hair night. That's the weekly shampoo, brush, and dry ritual. Takes FOREVER.

Back to school!

Better late than never, right?

Here they are, on the first day of fifth and second grades. Adorable!!

All decked out in their new digs, after mom and I took them on an August shopping spree.

The hair. Very on trend. My braiding skills are coming along!

It was my first day too!

Things went really well that first day. The next 8, not so much. Nina had a lot of anxiety about starting fifth grade, and kept coming home with a tummy ache. Monday was labor day, so no school then, and in July I'd scheduled the girls' annual checkups for Tuesday the 8th, so they missed the morning for that. Dr. Feder gave Nina's tummy a clean bill of health, and also thought it was anxiety. She stayed the rest of that day, came home early on Wednesday and Thursday, but then made it all the way through Friday. Fingers crossed that that's the end of it! Mom will volunteer at the book fair on Monday, and I think Nina will be happy knowing that grandma's just downstairs if she needs a hug.

Maggie's been having a great time. Of course, she'd rather be home playing with toys, but seems to have begun to accept school as a necessary evil.

Things are so far, so good for me too. I picked up an Oceanography/Ecology course at the last minute, but I'm liking it. I mean, it's depressing, I've learned all about the miserable state of plastics in the ocean, but the teaching part is going well. What more can you ask for?

In other interesting news, the girls are working as ball girls for the high school girls' soccer team! They really like it. I'm psyched, because we've never done team sports before, but now they're getting a chance to be part of a team, get exercise, and learn about the rules of soccer. Plus, they get paid to do it! I feel like it's the greatest children's sports hack of the year.

As a reward for sticking out all day Friday, and to give them someplace to spend their hard-earned $$ ($10/game each!), we took them to Target, WalMart, and 5 Guys on Saturday. Great day. We ate so much 5 Guys we could barely make it back to the car.

Looming ahead is our first 5 day week. Deep breaths. 170 work days until summer vacation!

Friday, August 28, 2015


What a great trip we're having. We had a near-traffic-free drive down, until of course we got into the city at nearly 5 pm. Oh well. The BQE has been re-paved, so that was pleasant. Even though it was rush hour, things moved fairly well. It's pretty much rush hour all the time these days, so it doesn't matter much when we get in.

Yesterday we went to Yvonne's new horse farm in Patchogue (traffic: extensive. Southern State was shut down between exits 33 and 34, so we had to take a detour). But eventually, we got there!

Willow Springs Farm! It's so beautiful! First we ran around, looked at the horses, and took a golf cart tour of the paddocks. Then, pony rides and Yvonne's pony Abby. Here's Maggie:

Doesn't she look great? Yvonne led Abby, but she's a wonderful pony, patient and gentle as can be.

Cousins hanging out while Nina rides. Maggie and Julian immediately hit it off and were like 2 peas in a pod the whole time.

Here's the indoor riding area. Huge!!! Margo's on Abby in the distance, some other people are on the left there. Besides Yvonne and Michele's horses, there are boarders, for a total of 26 horses. Big farm!

Here's Nina. Yvonne loaned her boots because all we packed were flip-flops. She's such a big girl, they practically fit!

Even though the trip over was long and traffic-y, the girls had a great time in the car. Here's Maggie getting her sunblock on. We were roaring!

On the way home, we stopped at Wal-Mart with Jenn and her kids to get a few things. We were back in Brooklyn in time to do this before Pete got home:

Well, it looks even more festive in person.

Even the door guards got dressed up!

So did Bearia!

We made a lemon meringue pie and had an adorable (if short and presentless) little party.

Also, bears!

And bears who are practically teenagers...

...and too cool for bear faces.

Today, Coney Island!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Happy Birthday Nina!

Ten! She's TEN!

Yeah, ok, this is the only photo I took. Bad mommy. But doesn't it look so festive?!

She had 6 girls for a pool party, and with Nina nd Maggie, that made 8. Crazy! They had a blast. Swimming, jumping on the trampoline, playing dress-up, cake, presents... good old fashioned birthday fun.

It's ok, Nick has more photos:

Here she is with her birthday cake. Chocolate with chocolate frosting and blue edible glitter (I've started going on Pinterest. That's all I'll say.)

Since mom and dad went down to NYC on Friday, we also celebrated with a birthday lemon meringue pie that evening. The candles have kind of washed out the pie in this pic, but you get the idea:

Finally, we did a birthday dinner out at Kaler's on Friday, her actual birthday. He are us ladies, rocking the sunglasses.

Happy Birthday to my baby!!

Monday, June 29, 2015

The unveiling...

Ta daa!!

I have to say, it looks amazing. So professional! So perfect! I haven't finished putting topsoil on either side, and I haven't set down grass seed yet, so this isn't quite totally done. Almost, very very almost.

Here's another angle:

Because I couldn't stop at just one photo, but the car was just behind me, so I couldn't get back any further. Another day!

And while I'm at it, here's a pic of the job I'm tackling just off to the left. It's the perennially yucky looking corner by the basement door, under the downstairs bathroom window. I've decided to set all the bricks I took up from the old walkway down there, to make a neater spot to store the trash can, hose, and whatnot.

The bricks under the door were already there. I added the bricks to the left, and I'm going to extend them all the way to the edge of the house. Should look pretty good! Better photos to come!

Other than all this, we've been super busy! Vanessa, Wyatt, and Ray got here on Thursday night. Friday we did the reunion cruise (so much fun!), and Saturday we did the reunion picnic. Also fun! I got home from the cruise and Nina had a fever, so I thought we weren't going to make the picnic. But she rallied at the last minute, and she was fine after that. Just a quick fever and some sneezing.

Sunday it poured all day long. The wind was really something else too. So we all just played together inside all day.

Today Mom, Vanessa, and I took the kids to the playground for about 3 hours. Tons of fun. Then Nina and I made fondue for dinner, plus a lobster quiche. Not sure yet what's on the docket for tomorrow, but whatever we do, I'll try to get some pictures!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

A new walkway

But first, hello! It's been a super busy last few months, but hopefully I'll be back to regular blogging now that it's summer vacation.

The school year wrapped up quite well. Nina and Maggie had just fantastic report cards, and I didn't go crazy or quit, what more can you ask for from a teacher? :-)

As soon as school let out, I got started on redoing our walkway. The bricks that formed the landing under the door have been coming loose and falling out for at least a year, and the path itself was pretty weedy and bumpy. Something had to be done. See?

It's not too easy to tell from this photo, but the landing is nothing but a loose pile of bricks and rubble. Under those bricks was a nice, solid cement platform. So after chewing it over for about a year, I decided one of those big, granite slabs was the way to go. And yesterday, it arrived!

That's a huge chunk of granite! And on the left there is Nina's adorable hand. Here's the rest of her:

I'll fill in the dirt there with the pavers on the right, and hopefully by the end of the day tomorrow we'll have a gorgeous new walkway!

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Vacation, sunshine, and dump runs....

First things first, THE SNOW IS ALMOST GONE!!

So, so almost. There's a small crusty pile in the front, patches in shady spots in the woods, but really really just this close to gone for good. Excitement!

Second things second: It's vacation! Oh sweet April vacation! I don't even want to tell you how long I've worked without a solid 9 days off... six or eight weeks, I can't even remember! Well thank GOD for this week, and then it's wind-down season. Whew!

Third, lovely sunny warm day again today. Spring in Maine, when the weather is actually spring-like, is an amazing thing. The sun is shining, the birds are chirping, the bugs aren't yet biting, and life is good.

And last but certainly not least, mom, the girls, and I went to the dump this morning. Girls in the back seat, me and mom in the front. I pulled up to the trash area and tossed my bags in. When I got back in the car, Maggie said "Wow, the men here are NOT good-looking. Like, none of them."

HA! It's funny because it's true (and because she's 6). They were all salty old Mainers. Not a looker among them! Glad to know she's scoping the dump for lookers, though. Hopefully she finds the men in NYC a little easier on the eyes. Ha!

Then she said, "Nick is handsome. He's probably the best looking guy in town." She has many times assured me that I am NOT pretty, so you know she's not just saying that to be nice.

Still, this is better than the gem she dropped last week when we were leaving school. I was turning lights off in my classroom and locking up, and she said to me and Nina as she walked out the door: "I'll be out in the parking lot, getting drunk."

Classy. Classy thing for a child to say. I'll go ahead and blame Bob's Burgers (TV show we've been obsessed with), but that's really just a cop out. Because I asked her right away where she got that idea from and she said, "My brain just came up with it."


Wednesday, April 8, 2015

The bad and the good

First, the bad news. The hourly forecast for tonight:

Yes, that's snow. We're supposed to get 1 to 3 inches of at wet snow mix by 10 am tomorrow, but we'll see. They're wrong about these things sometimes. And 1 inch, if it goes to that end, is really nothing.  Maybe, if things really go our way, we'll get a late start. But highly unlikely. With temps hovering just above freezing, the roads will probably stay nice and clear. Probably. I'd love love LOVE a 2-hour delay though. Just FYI.

But then, oh glory glory hallelujah!

OH MY GOD!!! I'm so happy! Look at this beautiful weather!!!!!!!!!!

Finally!! What are we even going to do? Go to the beach? I don't even remember what people do in the nice weather. Yay!!

Monday, April 6, 2015

A dog's love...

I was looking at the photos of Nick's phone this evening (mostly Nina and Maggie selfies), and came across these lovelies:

They're from a few weeks ago when Nina had that high fever and was home for a few days. They took such good care of her!

Actually, they might be from a few weeks apart. She's wearing the exact same mismatched pajamas, but they're a few weeks apart in the saved photos. Unless they saved funny.

Well, this next one is definitely from one of the sick days, but everyone's looking much cheerier:

Who says there isn't room on a loveseat for three?!

So sweet. Almost makes me forgive Marley for his coming home 2 minutes before I left for work this morning, covered in mud flat mud. Almost....

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Happy Easter!

Guess who visited this morning?? Here's a hint:

The Easter Bunny! He hid 11 eggs (grandpa got to them yesterday). He also left the girls a lovely note explaining that he saw the stash of candy that their aunt, uncle, and grandma had gotten them, so he was going to skip baskets this year. They loved the egg hunt so much they didn't even mind.

Busy busy weekend! Mom's been at Central Maine Med with a gallbladder attack, but fortunately they are holding off on the removal and she'll be home later today. Whew! She was furious that she had to miss 2 days of Joey, but all's well that ends well. Erik and I will cook Easter dinner today, and I think I'll let the girls skip school tomorrow so they can enjoy the day and some extra Joey time in the morning tomorrow. They got report cards on Friday and they were just fantastic, so one special missed day shouldn't be too big a deal.

It snowed yesterday and a bit this morning, but just some flurries, no accumulation. The snow is slowly continuing to melt, and today is supposed to hit 40. Still 10 degrees below normal on most days, but perhaps we're slowly emerging from that pattern. I'd move, but where?

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

April fool!!

Ha! What a day we've had. It started with a plan Nina and I cooked up together to switch the insides of all the cereal boxes. It was amazing. Maggie asked ("asked") Nick to pour her a bowl of Reeses Peanut Butter Puffs, and he tried, but out came Lucky Charms! HA! And he was so confused, he was all, "What's this? What's going on? I'M SO CONFUSED!" I was nudging Nina to yell "April Fools!" but she let it ride for a minute. Good call, because Nick just got more and more confused when he tried the next box, and the next (we have  a lot of cereal). Finally she said it, it was epic.

Then this afternoon the girls made Mount Sledmore, and sprayed perfume on it (Nick hates perfume). Then they tricked him into sitting on the sled and pushed him down the mountain! Ha!

Finally, we swapped the Doritos out with regular tortilla chips. This time he caught on pretty fast. We were like, "OH MY GOSH, THEY FORGOT TO PUT THE CHEESE ON THE DORITOS!" But after the cereal bit, he was on to us. Fool me once, shame one you. Fool me twice....

Two weeks and two days until vacation! It's actually getting incrementally warmer here too. Still 5 - 10 degrees below average every day, but at least it's reliably getting to 40 on most days. We'll take what we can get!

Monday, March 16, 2015

No posts for a while, guess why?


Grr, so annoyed. First Nina got sick--totally miserable, fever up to 104.5, runny nose, sore throat, cough, you name it, she had it. Then Maggie got it. No fever, but a nasty cough. Then I got it. Pretty much like Nina, fever wasn't so high. But I just can't kick it! All 3 of us are still coughing, I'm utterly exhausted, nose is still running, but finally, after a week, the fever appears to be gone (knock on wood). I think I'm even feeling better.

Last weekend was the worst for Nina. Poor kid was just so sick and so miserable. Then what happens? Moxie makes everything even more fun by throwing up in the living room. Twice. Tell me again what need these dogs fulfill?

But knock on wood, we're over the hump. Tomorrow's supposed to be a decent day, too. I mean, snow of course in the morning, but then hopefully it'll change over to rain and hit 40. Highs in the low 20s again on Wednesday, maybe 30 on Thursday. I spent some time today looking for jobs in Texas. Austin sounds nice, don't you think?

One more winter of this and I mean it. I'm leaving.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

A spring day!!

It's finally happened! We're at least in the mid-50s today, maybe even 60! It feels wonderful!! Definitely 10 degrees warmer than they'd forecast, perhaps the tide is turning. There's so much melting going on, it sounds like it's raining.

Look at the glacial retreat we've experienced:

 Why, it's the patio furniture! Safe and sound!

Look at these happy kids, bouncing away. This, right here, is why I shovel that damn thing all winter long. :-)

It may not look like it, but these snow banks are shrinking. The rest of the week is in the 40s and 30s, but I don't even care. Maybe they'll be off by 10 degrees every day from now on.

Here's the forecast for this weekend. I think the vagueness is perfect Maine:

You've got to read "track" and "temps" in a Maine accent. This pic was headlined "snowfall amounts" on the WCSH 6 website, FYI. I see no amounts posted...

( is calling for 1-3 inches but no 40 degree days in their 10 day forecast. What do they know?)

Sunday, March 8, 2015

One sick pumpkin

and another that might be getting sick.

Poor Nina's been feeling miserable since Friday. High fever, runny nose, sore throat, and general misery. I'm giving her ibuprofen every 6 hours, and for that hour or so when it's at peak concentration in her bloodstream, she tends to feel ok and manages to eat a little. Other than that, it's just rest and the occasional sip of gatorade.

Maggie woke up this morning with a cough and a froggy voice. Hopefully this is the worst of it for her as she hasn't really tanked yet, but we'll see.

I've made some chicken soup for the both of them. I'm a good mom, that's why.

Not according to Maggie. This afternoon she told me that sometimes I'm a jerk. I forgot why, I'll ask her.

Oh yes, she says "they're both sick (not true, Maggie's nowhere NEAR as sick as Nina), and I'm asking Maggie to do things that I'm not asking Nina to do (like, put her dirty dishes in the sink, zomg)." So, yeah, big jerky stuff. I'm a monster.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Dinner tonight was a hit!

It was a good week overall. Tacos on Monday (homemade guacamole on the side, of course), homemade orange chicken over rice on Tuesday (with a few thighs tossed in the oven for a juicy oven roast because I thawed too much chicken), leftover tacos with butter lemon carrots on the side Wednesday... all really yum. But today was Nina's favorite meal of all. She ate so much that she feels sick! No way can she fit in dessert.

What did I make? What could top every other recipe in my mouth-watering repertoire?

Frozen fish sticks, frozen french fries, and frozen mixed veggies. All heated to perfection, of course!

Can I thaw this mouth-watering feast for dinner every day?! She asks with excitement and joy.

Why do I even bother!!

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Yes, February was a cold one...

Average daily high for the month was 22.5 degrees, average low was 3. That's more than TEN DEGREES below normal monthly averages.

Fortunately, things are slowly beginning to turn around. I mean, of course we're forecast to get 2-4 inches of snow tonight, but that's a mere dusting for this winter. It might time out to hit at an awkward enough time that we have a late start, but that's such a narrow window for the snow to hit that it's just gonna be a wait and see. I like late starts, though. We usually just trim a few minutes off each period at school and cut their study hall (they can study during those 2 hours at home!), so we get pretty much everything in, plus some extra time to do stuff at home in the morning. Win-win. Anyway, the part of the forecast that's a turn around is that we have quite a few days above 30 in the near forecast, one predicted to hit over 40, and nothing lower than the 20s (daytime highs of course). PLUS, the 10 day forecast contains NO nights below zero and just 2 in the single digits. Woot! Summer here we come!!

Sad. So sad that this is good. The girls and I baked 2 dozen cinnamon rolls and chocolate cinnamon rolls yesterday, so we're drowning our sorrows in those.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

How old am I again?

I was in the bathroom with Maggie and she was talking about something, then turned to me and said:

"Wait, were you born in the 2000s or the 1000s?"
"Uh... I guess the 1000s," I said.
"Wow you are old!" she said.

Well yeah, when you put it that way, I doth feel like thine olde mother indeed!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Kill me. Kill me now (snow, of course)

Well, the good news is we got a 2 hour delay. That's why I'm chillin in my bathrobe, posting here on a Wednesday at 8 am. The bad news is:

6 inches of fresh white stuff, blanketing the 3 feet of old white stuff. That swing you see is one that Nina had put really high up. See how it's almost as high as the trapeze bar? See how the snow is as high as the trampoline? I had just cleaned the roof off of the playhouse over vacation, silly me.

Here's the patio table. I've cleared it and the chairs off numerous times, which is why it's not totally buried. But there's no more "clearing off" when the snow is higher than the table and chairs. I quit.

I have a car. It's red. Have you seen it? I guess I should be dealing with that instead of blogging. Well, I'll be quick, but I still have a few minutes before I need to get out there.

But look at this happiness! Girls and dogs, cuddling. Moments after this Moxie threw up on Nina, so I got to do floors and a load of laundry. Woot. Good thing it's a snow day!

Now off to clear off that car!