Friday, August 31, 2012

School, Day 1

Grade 3
Love the Lunch Box

Thursday, August 30, 2012

A Quiet Game

The other day I was doing sit-ups in the basement when I heard some noise from above.

I always hear noise when I'm working out. If the boys are awake, there will be noise. But most of it is thumping. I'm not sure what it is, or what exactly they are doing, but it sounds as though the boys are climbing up to the highest point they can and then JUMPing off with a thud. They are trying to see who can shake the house more, or maybe who can be loudest. Sometimes I think they are doing some sort of seismic experiment. But then, if I go upstairs, they are just getting some water or sneaking cereal out of the cupboard.

This noise was different, though. It wasn't thumping, which is "normal," but it was scraping, and screaming, and someone shouting "I WAS NOT!" and someone else shouting "I HATE YOU!" and then "SHUT UP!"

I ran upstairs expecting to see blood, or wrestling boys, or some evidence of an explosion or horrible deed.

Instead, I found all three boys seated around the kitchen table.

They were playing CandyLand.

I was excited, at first, that the boys were finally playing board games on their own. (CandyLand? Not now, Sweetie, Mommy's folding laundry. Again.)

But then I realized that my boys could turn even CandyLand into a war zone. Apparently the rules about how to reach the rainbow palace are not as straightforward as you'd think.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Camera Crusher

If I have a camera, or a cell phone, I will break it within a year.

No kidding.

My last cell phone got rained on and then just... died. But the one I have now has been great. It's an iphone, the one Steve had but couldn't use for work because of software incompatability issues.

My camera, on the other hand...

It was some time ago I wrecked my last camera. It was in my lap when I was in a car. I forgot about it and got out, stood up, camera smashed. At first there was just a ripped spot on the viewing screen, but the pictures turned out fine. Then the whole viewing screen went black, and I had to kind of guess what I was taking a picture of.

And then Steve got me this little red number. I loved it. Small enough to fit in my little bag, or in my pocket, it took very good photos. And red, so I knew it was mine. I took it with me so many places, just tossing it in my bag.

And then.... well, I looked down at it one day and thought "Hey! I never noticed the black ring around the zoom lens."

Um... there is no black ring around the zoom lens.

Well, not really. There is now, but only because the red covering has started to fall off. And then the little shutters that protect the lens fell off, the last one at the top of that mountain.

On that same trip I noticed that, when I use the zoom, there is a little blotch in the picture. It's not on the outside of the lens. I can't fix it.

Steve joked with me that we're not due to get a new camera for another two years. I laughed, but seriously WHAT is wrong with me? I'm worse than the kids.

When I DO get a new camera, whenever that is, I'm going to get a case. And use the case.

Monday, August 27, 2012

First Sleepover

Tonight Nick is enjoying the company of one of his friends. All night long.

I must have been five when I had my first sleep over. Nick is eight. But this is our very first one, unless you count Grammy. 

So far, so good... unless you count his friend refusing to eat corn at dinner, and Andy crying for ever because the older boys wanted Bakugan on TV and he wanted Scooby Doo (which we do not own.)

I'm a little nervous. I just hope they eventually go to sleep. And stay asleep. And don't wake too early.

In a few minutes I'm going to have to make them all go to sleep. 


Sunday, August 26, 2012

Sat. Saga: Pants, Keys, Traffic OR The Apple Never Falls...

I have this thing about clothes shopping. I hate it.

I hate everything about it. I hate the idea of going to a place and trying to fing clothing I like. I hate the fact that, once found, the clothing probably will not fit me right, or perhaps it would, if it were actually in my size. I hate that I then have to shell out a ridiculous amount of money for each item of clothing, none of which was made responsibly or in this country, supporting what I feel to be the irresponsible business practices of monster corporations.

All for a pair of pants that will probably be stained with olive oil by the end of the week.

But sometimes, I give in.

I really, really like the store Athleta. This store is part of the GAP empire. But it focuses on activewear, and right now I'm really into that, particularly the kind that will let me look cute. The thing is, until recently, Athleta has been exclusively catalog and internet. It didn't have any actual physical stores.

And then recently, it opened up a few. Including one in Massachusetts. I really really wanted to visit this store, just to see what it was like, to try on some of the clothes I kept seeing, just to know what they would look like on me.

So I asked Steve, very nicely, if he would watch the boys one Saturday while I drove down and checked it out.

Well, Steve had planned to go to the boat on Friday, and spend the night. But he had an idea: the boys love the boat! Why don't I drive down with the boys Saturday morning, and then drop them off. I can then drive back, stop off at the store (which was down there anyway) and have the day to myself.

It sounded like a good idea, even if it was a bit more driving than I had planned on, as the mall I was going to was not exactly at the marina.

So Friday Steve headed out, and I was alone with the kids.

I slept very poorly Friday. I mention this only to give you some idea of my state of mind, a framework for what followed, sleep deprived glasses to put on so that you can see the day unfold the way I did.

At 8:30 AM we pulled out of the driveway, after packing lunch for the boys on the boat, getting all three boys to put on shoes, and one very immature temper tantrum about bringing a DS in the car. (I was calm, and the DS stayed home.)

There was a bit of traffic. I got lost on the way to the marina - I can never remember which exit, and also, once I get off all the turns tend to look the same to me. Some guy ran a stop sign while I was stopped for someone else cutting into the flow of traffic going the other way, and he made me so mad I actually beeped my horn at him. He smiled sarcastically and waved, and I actually flipped him off and yelled profanity out the window WITH MY KIDS IN THE CAR. But finally I calmed down. I found myself, and we were finally there.

And so were a hundred other people. Because the Marina was doing a Show that day, something with booths and tables and chairs and a microphone.

As soon as I got into the parking lot someone told me that only boat owners could park there - I had to explain that I was, in fact, a boat owner, but that I was never myself AT the marina. And that I was looking forward to leaving as soon as I could swap cars with my husband.

Steve showed up to claim the boys, and I smiled and said Great! and held my hands out for his car key... and Steve looked shocked. Oh. The car key. Oh no. It's on the boat. To get it, I'll need to come with them on the launch, and then ride it back.

So we all piled into the launch, which takes a few minutes - for the guy to show up, and then to get out there. Steve walked over and got his key, handed it to me (still on the launch) and waved good-bye. The driver picked up a few people from their boats, and drove us back to the chaos of the marina.

I got into Steve's car, which I should mention here, is not my favorite vehicle to drive, being lower than the minivan, generally dirtier, with none of my stations pre-programmed in. Also, it shudders when you drive about forty miles an hour for some strange reason.

After 20 minutes of driving around, managed to find the highway. I was kind of excited, planning my day in my head. After this store, I might head up to the mall in NH (there is no tax in NH) and get some bras, some shoes, maybe a pair of jeans...

I skipped into the mall and made the ladies room my first stop. Then I reached into my pocket and felt my keys.

MY keys.

Not Steve's keys.

Crap. I never gave Steve the keys to my car.

I was really hopeful that maybe the day could be saved. Maybe he had the other car key with him for some strange reason?  I reached for my phone, but it was in Steve's car. So I ran outside to his car, which was parked at the far end of the parking lot.

There was a message from Steve.

It said I still had the car keys.

I called Steve.

Steve was surprised it had taken me that long to get to the mall. "We were actually packing up to go home," he said.

It wasn't even eleven AM.

I dashed to Athleta, determined to take a look around, but my calm, browsy feeling was gone. Instead, I was frantic. "the boys are waiting for me. They are sitting there, waiting for me. The longer I take here, the longer they will be waiting."

I did manage to try on a few things, but was grumpy about it because I'm short, and even the XXS yoga pants brushed the floor. Which is ridiculous! I'm not THAT short. And they didn't come in petite. And even if I could have gotten away with the length, the tighter size did nothing for my assets.

So I got back into the car and drove back east, back toward the marina. There was traffic. I got lost again. I found the marina again. Steve and the boys met me at the end of the street so I didn't even have to deal with the gate or getting in. Then I headed back up to NH.

By the time I got to NH the traffic was crazy. It was 1pm. I found out the Ann Taylor had closed. I tried on some jeans at J.Jill, but they were $90, and I just couldn't. I told myself I would go to Goodwill. But I didn't have the courage to drive up 3 extra exits on the highway, and fight the traffic on that road because they've been replacing pipes there for months and the traffic is always horrible.

So I just went home.

And I had a cup of tea.

And took a nap.

Then had more tea.

Which brings me to right now.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Many Faces Of Nathan

At Storyland we let the boys choose 1 thing at the gift shop, but somehow Nate ended up with 2 things.

One was a viking hat. He was walking around the park wearing it, and also a gold string of mardi-gras beads. Steve looked at him and said "he looks like Flava Flav." What do you think?

The other thing Nate got was a fake moustache. Dashing, no? Although he does remind me of someone else...

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Hike

After our day at StoryLand and our night at the Best Hotel Ever, I forced the family to to go to Franconia Notch State Park. 

The truth is, all I'd wanted to do was take the boys on this hike, and then Nate won the StoryLand tickets, so the trip turned into an overnight and got all amusement parkish. But this was the one thing I had wanted to do all summer, and I was going to do it, gosh darn it!

So we piled the boys into the car and began the drive across the mountains that sit in between StoryLand and the State Park. After ten minutes I told the boys I was taking away their DS things so they would look up and pay attention to the scenery. There was a little grumbling and some frowns, but they did it.

Then we went to Flume Gorge. We did a 2 mile hike to see some waterfalls (amazing!). Nate, Andy and I wedged ourselves through a narrow opening through some rocks, and we saw glacial boulders. We then drove up to Cannon Mountain and took a tram up to the top. There was a short hike up there to the observation deck - it was cold. I was glad I remembered sweatshirts. The views were amazing.

This was my favorite part of the summer. I was so, so happy to be walking in the clouds, and to be showing all of it to my kids.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

A Place To Stay

I am never quite sure what to do when we have to stay in northern NH. In the past we've stayed in places that were uncomfortable and squashed, and I get a little frantic wondering if I'm picking the right place.

This time I picked a place we'd stayed in before. The last time we'd been squashed in a room that was too small for the five of us, so this time I went for a larger room.  Instead of just two double beds, this room had a loft with two additional single beds. The loft also had a second TV and a small sink, which Nate insisted on brushing his teeth at.

The weather was fine, so the boys were able to enjoy the outdoor pool, and they arrived just when a smiling staff member was handing out popsicles. We took a shuttle to the nearby sister resort and had a wonderful Italian Buffet dinner. We then got back to our room, where I took a hot bath, and everyone was in bed by 8pm.

The next morning we took advantage of the hotel breakfast, which included pancakes AND waffles AND bacon.

That was when Nathan announced "This is the best hotel I ever stayed at!"

Nothing could have made me feel so pleased.

Monday, August 20, 2012


 The thing about StoryLand is, it's really kind of fun. It doesn't have super fast roller coasters, or scary rides that spin you upside-down and backwards while blasting rock music in your ears. If we wanted that we could go to Canobie Lake Park, which is much closer to us, and also over-run with teenagers with attitudes.

What it DOES have, is water. There is a flume ride, and one of those round water rides where you don't go up and down, but they spray water at you from all sorts of places. And finally they have this new ride, where you sit in a flat raft-like boat and shoot water at folks watching the ride. The catch? They can stand at water guns they have on the sidelines, and spray water directly at you. It sounds awful, but it was very fun, and we all got very wet. Even Steve, who was watching, not riding.

We did all the big rides early, before the lines got long, and spent the afternoon at the play areas. Good fun.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Mini Vacation

I just got back from a little mini vacation I took with my family.

And by "mini" I mean short, not uneventful. We left yesterday. We came back this afternoon. We did 100 things in between.

Thanks to our Local Library for this trip - Nathan won the StoryLand tickets in their Summer Raffle.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Girl Power

I like the shoes.

Thursday, August 16, 2012


Argh! It's Thursday already? I'm too busy to post, I have nothing interesting to say, and the story about how I took my kids to a shoddy zoo-farm instead of cleaning my house and then had the  house almost explode from tired cranky little boys being tired and cranky.... well, that story will wait until another time.

Right now, I'm too busy.

Monday, August 13, 2012

School Conflict #1

I got en email from the school system.

Well, 2 emails, but they both said the same thing, more or less.

The registration forms that we have to complete each year for every single student are now available online. All the parent has to do is go to a specific site, and fill out the forms. Then, and only then, will the parent find out the name of the child's TEACHER.

I filled out the forms right away. I wanted to know who the kids had. I completed all 97 pages of emergency contact information, medical information, family information, and then..... the system told me there were some required fields I hadn't filled out.

For example, after "Mother's full name," I had somehow neglected to fill out the field that said "Relationship to Student." That's right. And after "Father's full name" it also said "Relationship to Student."

This just proves to me that the people running the schools have an excess of air in their heads.

After I "fixed" all the things I had somehow (using logic) neglected to complete earlier, I went to submit the forms....  but it kept telling me there were errors, that I was missing information.

But I wasn't.

I went back and filled out the whole form again.

Still nothing.

I went and completed Nick's form, found out who his teacher was going to be (he's happy), but for some reason Nate's wouldn't work.

Finally, somehow, I managed to make it work. Well, I did nothing. I have no idea how it worked. When Steve wonders why I think computers are magic, this is why. I have no idea what made it not work. I have no idea what fixed it. It might have been something I clicked. It might have been something I said. It might have been that I said "please" this time, or that I murmured the correct incantation while closing my eyes.

Anyway, Nate has the teacher he wanted, somehow. Hooray! And I've also gotten the email with the new bus routes. It'll be grand. Now I just have to do some shopping for supplies and a few clothes.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

The Accidental Squash

I have an Accidental Squash.

See, what happened was, I planted my little garden as usual this spring, only I tried to switch the location of some of the items. The squash got planted at the far end of the plot, at the top of the slope.

Only when the seeds turned into plants, I realized there was a squash plant growing down at the other end, in the grass.

It was a real squash plant, and it was doing really well, so I didn't want to dig it up, but it was growing so fast and so large that the grass around it couldn't be cut.

I lifted part of it and placed it on part of a gate, where the end of it rested quite nicely.

But this squash plant grows so fast that it soon grew pas the gate, and now it's reached the house. It's even got a couple of squash on it now.

The Zucchini up top is also doing well, even though it's growing differently. In the morning the flowers open wide and  the effect is quite beautiful.

 I have tons of tomatoes already. If only they would turn red.

 This is my first year planting this. It isn't as high as an elephant's eye, so I don't know if we'll get anything from it, but yes, it's corn. If I get even one ear I'm doubling the amount I plant for next year.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Some Kind Of Help...

I try to mop the floor once a week, on Clean The House Day.

I have to admit, this doesn't always happen. Sometimes vacuuming the rest of the house takes too long and I don't get around to it - It's usually the last thing I do. But other times I am able to dedicate the entire DAY to cleaning the house. Imagine the joy! But at least everything gets to be clean for a short time.

The other day I was able to finish cleaning the house by early afternoon. I finished mopping the floor - the last thing I always do, and then called Nick and Nate to come practice piano. I figured we'd at least be out of the kitchen for a bit that way, and the floor would have the chance to dry.

But when practicing was done and I walked out into the kitchen, the floor was not dry. In fact, it was wetter. I didn't realize this, though, until I walked across to the mop and bucket, still full of dirty water. I lifted it so I could empty it in the sink, but halfway up I slipped.

My feet skidded out from under me, and my whole body tilted back. For a moment I pictured myself cracking my skull on the kitchen counter.

I did manage to not fall. I even managed to keep my hold on the bucket of dirty water. But nothing could keep that water in the bucket.

It splashed up, straight up, it seemed, and half the bucket hit me square in the face.


See, what had happened was, while the piano practice was going on, a couple of someones decided to "help" me mop, spreading extra water ALL over the kitchen. I ended up having to re-mop the whole thing. Only wet, and smelling like Pine Sol.

Friday, August 10, 2012


It's hard to believe it's been almost six months since The Boat Trip. Particularly as I'm still telling myself the number on the scale is a direct result of said trip. The mark of a good vacation is that it still feels recent even though it's say, six months gone. 

That said, I'm looking forward to another vacation, one that's just around the corner. Part of me still feels like we just went to Disney World, and if you look at things big picture like, we did. But if you look at the pictures... well, just look at these little guys. Look at Baby Andy, and at how round and chubby Nate's face was - he wasn't even three years old. They had the best time, and now that they're older, I think they'll appreciate some things even more.  I'm really excited for our next trip. I think the boys will have the best time!

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Worst Run Ever

Earlier this week I thought it might be a good idea to take the kids biking along a trail in our town.

I'd done this before, with Andy on trike, and it was miserable because the boys were wobbling all over the place, and Andy's trike was broken and not very fast. But this time they were all on bikes. Andy just got a new bike with training wheels and was very excited to try it out. Also, I needed to go for a run, so I thought they could ride, I could run, and we would all get a work out, some fresh air, and be happy.

Not so much.

First of all, Andy was not very interested in... speed. Nick and Nate took off down the trail, until they were little blips, and then waited responsibly. Andy, on the other had, reminded me more of the Muppets on Bikes, going so slowly one is amazed they have the necessary balance to stay upright. I was hoping to run, but I wasn't running. Even walking, I had to keep stopping to let Andy catch up. Finally I started jogging and then turning back, running circles around him as he slowly inched forward.

By the end of the run, Andy had gotten the hang of it. He was going fast enough that I didn't have to double back, and all was well.

But my stupid GPS tracker thing didn't get my doubling back. It just recorded that I ran very, very slowly. I burned 200 calories in 40 minutes, and apparently at some point ran through the middle of the pond.

All told, and GPS malfunctions aside, I think it was a good run, and I'd be willing to do it again, now that Andy has gotten the hang of it.

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Belated Birthday Wishes

Way, way back, many weeks ago (June 10th) my cousin had a baby.

Not just any baby, mind you. No no, this baby is a GIRL baby! And if that isn't enough, this girl baby also happens to be (wait for it) FRENCH! That's right, this little girl baby was born in Paris, thus satisfying two of the three criteria for perfect babiness (the third being that the french girl baby would, of course, be mine.) 

Other things were going on, and I realized I somehow missed this milestone in this blog, and so I'm rectifying that situation right now. Welcome to the World Baby Chloe! Isn't it great to be loved by so many just for being born?

Seriously, though, look at her cute little face.  I can hardly stand it, and I'm just looking at a picture. Lord knows what would happen if I actually met the little bean.

Monday, August 06, 2012

Walkin' on Sunshine

I snapped this at the playground on a day that was so hot and humid we couldn't stand it. After fifteen minutes we got back into the car and went home. But I like this picture because it looks like Nick is walking on air.

Sunday, August 05, 2012

Chef Andy

Andy went shuffling through the kid's cookbook we got for Christmas and picked out something he wanted to make. So, after I wrote down the list of ingredients, I went on my weekly scheduled shopping trip, did some simple prep work, and Andy went to town.

There were a couple of variations to this one. Andy could have made a fruit salad, mixing everything together, or he could have added honey and yogurt and made an ambrosia. But he chose the kabobs. Everything tastes better on a stick.


Friday, August 03, 2012

Define Exhausted

I posted this years ago.

I thought Nate was following me into the house for lunch and nap, but this is as far as he got.

And then, at three and a half, he stopped napping altogether.

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Kick In The Gut

Seeing Andy dressed for Karate makes me giggle because he is so cute and the pants need to be rolled up three times so he won't trip.

I also get really wistful, because he is so very obviously a boy and no longer a toddler.

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

See You Soon Indeed.

Driving past the school last week I noticed that the big sign outside the school has been changed from "Have A Nice Summer" to "See You Soon!"

I just put the winter clothing in storage and made sure everyone had a fitting swimsuit. WHY DOES THIS ALWAYS HAPPEN?