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Thursday, July 31, 2008

Hopping Helium

Helium is a wonderful thing. It can make festive balloon bouquets for parties as well as the equally fun munchkin voice. I'm sure it does all sorts of other important things in the world as well, you know, the whole periodic table thing. But in our house, helium is touted merely for it's ability to make a balloon airborne. And thus follows the story of the run-away balloon.

Ella is slightly preoccupied with the pursuit of balloon ownership in general. She is attracted to the shiny Mylar like a fish to a lure and, for her, I think they can be equally as dangerous to her fragile emotional psyche.

Last week, she bought a balloon at the store with her own money. (We are trying to teach her this since she has recently developed a very obnoxious case of "I want that!" directed at every item at every turn.) She was incredibly proud, helped count out the money and hand it to the cashier and very deliberately tied her balloon around her stuffed kitty so it wouldn't blow away (or if it did kitty and the balloon would perish together- I shudder at the thought.)

We got the balloon home safely and then she accidentally got it caught in the outside screen door and it popped. Her cries and screams could have rivaled those heard at the wailing wall.

This week, she did an incredible job at the dentist getting her teeth cleaned so I offered to get her a balloon at the store. We did a refresher "basic balloon safety" course before we left the confines of the store. She was totally on board and clutched that string like one of those lifesaver rings. We get into the car without issue. We drive down the street and I (please don't ask why) had the windows closed but the sunroof open. You can see where this is going...

I say, "Ella, the sunroof is open. Make sure you hold tight to your-"

And out the balloon goes, swooped up through the sunroof as though it is tied to a zip line.

Now these screams even rival the ones from the previous week. She is leaving nothing for later, letting the agony poor out of her eyes in liquid pain and heart wrenching sobs.

I kept my head in the game. I looked behind me in the rearview and saw the balloon (mercifully attached to a small weight) hovering over the traffic lane we had just occupied. I seriously considered going back for it and had to give myself a talk about how irresponsible it would be to get hit by a car with my kids strapped into their car seats, all for a $2 balloon. But mothers will do desperate things to heal a breaking heart.

Suddenly, something miraculous happened. A car went by and the balloon (just for a visual it is a red heart-shaped balloon that says "I love you") lifted, crossed to the other side (crossing 3 lanes of traffic) and attached itself to the guardrail. I did a quick assessment, did a u-turn which meant I had to wait for a light, all the while praying that more cars passing it wouldn't give it more wind and rocket it into the ethers of the atmosphere.

I threw my flashers on (this was an emergency after all), pulled over onto the non-existent shoulder, ran with lightning speed around the car to the guard rail, untangled it with the deft skill and desperation of a Survivor contestant at an immunity challenge, and reveared that glorious silver string in my hand like the prize that it was. I ran back to the driver's seat, thrust it at Ella (and closed the sunroof) and took off like I was in a car chase.

Ella's scream stopped with a sudden, silent halt. And then, "How did you do that, Momma?"

"Simple." I wanted to say. "I'm super mom."

Monday, July 28, 2008

Summer Slideshow

Here are the Schoodic Pics.....

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Oh, sister!

Our Girls
Did our girls have fun at Schoodic? Does the wave crash to the shore?
Maya, all nearly four teeth of her, loved the sand and the opportunity to practice crawling and scooting. She actually made butt prints in the sand and she made her way along. She ate a hardy amount of sand and likely some bugs and I know of at least one acorn.
Ella, despite the chilly weather and occasional downpour, spent most of the weekend in her bathing suit and swam every chance she got (translation: whenever she could connive an adult to suit up as well.) Then she would come in for hot chocolate and recoup for her next swim. The arm floaties are quite amazing to me, allowing her to swim over her head with little to no assistance. Good or bad for learning to swim I don't know, but she loved the independence and so did we.
We only took 400 pictures while we were there. Here are a few. Sandi has a slide show to be put on soon with a whole bunch more. (And camping pictures will be posted soon as well. Better late than never, right?)

We arrived home from our two nights at Schoodic with some profoundly tired girls who were as disinterested in sleep as a cat is in a bath. Maya slept took one 1 hour nap the entire day and they were both still awake at 8:30 p.m. after over two hours of trying to get them to bed. Maya slept for an hour and then wouldn't go back to sleep. Ella went from fussy to believably terrified of something in her room. Sandi and I, trying to eat a quiet kidless dinner and get some time alone before her work weekend, were ready to send Mochy on kid duty and retire for the night. Then, Sandi came up with an idea...

In our house, having a good idea is as commonplace as brushing our teeth- it happens at least once a day and is no less important to our household. We are full of good ideas, sometimes great ones. Ella even says, at least every other day, "I've got a great idea!" This could be our family motto.

So Sandi's Idea was that we put the girls together in one room. At first pass, this did not seem like a Great Idea, especially at that moment. But the more they cried and the more Sandi argued her case, the more sense it made. Ella wouldn't be scared if Maya was with her. They were going to share a room eventually anyway. They slept in the same room in Moosehead and at Schoodic and both were unaffected by the other waking and making noise.

Up we tromp to the second floor, lights on, Allen wrenches out (we have to disassemble the crib to fit it in Ella's door) and operation Sleep Reorganization was in motion. Half an hour later, the girls both happily in dreamland across the room from each other so each could see the other, Sandi and I laid in our baby-free bedroom, lights on, windows thrown open, talking in NORMAL tones and suddenly her good idea really had become a Great Idea.

And it has been ever since.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Ella... the witty one

The cat threw up on the carpet and left us to find it a few mornings ago. Don't you love that about cats? I told Ella not to touch the cat vomit.

"What is that?" she asked.

"Vomit," I repeated.

"What is vomit?"


"Oh," she said, understanding dawning. "Is vomit Spanish for throw-up?"

Then this morning, in our usual quest for a suitable breakfast for her, she told me, after considerable deliberation, that she wanted grapes on the Nemo plate. (This is a colorful carved fish-shaped plate someone brought back from a cruise for us.) Sure, great idea.

I got out the grapes and she came to help me pluck them off the vine and put them on the plate.

"Why are we putting grapes on the plate first?" she asked, my first hint of trouble.

"Didn't you ask for grapes on the Nemo plate?" I asked, a bit warily.

"No! Crepes on the Nemo plate!" Insert wailing. When did I start making everything to order??? And try to pack to leave for three days to go to the Carver's camp as I have been doing this morning?

I swear sometimes I feel like a waitress and a chef and a personal secretary not to mention teacher, poop cleaner, snot wiper, trash receptacle and sometimes even a punching bag.

Some really wonderful moments of this past week: the night it rained that really lovely, cool rain and we sat in the dark on the couch, kids asleep, windows wide open, feeling the relief from the day, the heat, the end of the drought.

When Mindy took Ella for the entire morning yesterday and gave me a much needed break.

Emilie buying me an iced coffee.

Getting our pictures from Amanda in the mail and seeing that they are even more beautiful to hold in my hands.

Realizing that this is the week our car payment would be due if we owed it but we don't because our car is PAID OFF!

Maya, clapping heartily, when I came through the door yesterday.

Sandi, coming home from a long two days away from me, and wrapping me up and feeling like home.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Camping report

It has rained on the three of the last four of our annual Manhart/O'Reilly/Carver camping trips. Sandi is considering consulting the Farmer's Almanac before we make next year's reservations. I'm thinking about consulting a psychic. I also have a client whose husband swears it is sunny and gorgeous during his summer vacations every year. After the psychic, I will consult him and take the balance of what they each say and plan accordingly.

Actually, this is the first camping trip that I didn't mind too much about the rain. Why, you ask? Well, because we had the cabin, of course! Ella kept saying we were camping and I would feel my face flush with embarrassment. "No, honey, this isn't exactly camping." I mean, goodness, can you imagine if this is her camping standard? She did get some good camping time our first evening there, complete with swimming on the shores of the enchanting Moosehead lake right from the Manhart's campsite, having supper cooked over the open fire, toasting (burning) marshmallows (and eating large hunks of Hershey's Bars swipped from the s'mores fixings), romping the woods with Skyler on adventures ("You be the dinosaur now!" "No, I'm the dragon!" we'd hear them say) and contracting a case of poison ivy. We saw two deer and a very friendly fox. What more can a girl want from the woods?

We did make the bottom bunk that she slept on into a "tent" by hanging a blanket around it and letting her sleep with the rechargeable flashlight. She was really roughing it.

The Manhart's were absolute troopers and held through the rain that started mid-morning on day two. They napped in their tents, went to town for lunch, came to the cabin for the down pour in the afternoon, briefly considered an overnight with us in the cabin but we all reconsidered when it became obvious that someone might end up heavily medicated and in a straight jacket if we attempted such close quarters. You know who your friends are when you can pony up the truth in both directions.

To round out the weekend, we had lovely supper on Saturday night and a chance to reconnect with an old and dear friend and to meet a new one. It was a wonderful night of drinking wine, catching up over the past eight years and enjoying those deeper conversations that warm your heart and enlighten your spirit. There would be no way for me to express in words what their visit meant, but suffice it to say that it is amazing when life comes full circle. Thank you Kizzy and Marie-Eve (a French name pronounced so beautifully, I cannot even try) for your generosity to us and to the girls, for your love and positive energy, for extending yourselves so completely to us and for making us part of your trip from Canada. Come back again soon.

So, maybe next year we'll be back in the woods. Or maybe we'll just go to a hotel. Just kidding, Em.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Gone Camping

We're off to Moosehead to go camping today. And by camping I don't mean of the backpacking variety that Sandi and I would love to do every weekend if permitted. And I don't even mean the cushy car camping that we have become accustomed to since our tenure as parents.

No, what we are embarking on today is the ultra-luxurious, and not nearly as cheap, version of "camping" called the cabin.

Yep, we're off to Lily Bay to stay in a plywood cabin at $120/night but with the wondrous offerings of a roof, running water, plumbing and real beds. Maybe next year we'll be ready for the woods again, but for this round, with this particular baby of ours, we need some modern conveniences.

Some things over the past weeks: We ate our first, candy-sweet cherry tomatoes off of our patio tomato plants. Ella has coached me yet again to "take a deep breath" when I started to get worked up. The girls stayed with a new babysitter for 4 hours and were absolute champs- no crying! Maya slept in until the blessed hour of 6 a.m. yesterday. And best of all, Sandi and I had the most unbelievable weekend away in Bar Harbor with no girls! We hiked, we biked, we ate and we witnessed some very dear friends proclaim their love on Cadillac Mountain during a very foggy and hurricane force winds early morning. It was a lovely and very touching event to be a part of and has served to restore a foundation of appreciation, adoration and unabashed love in our own relationship. Congratulations Matt and Angela!! We love you!

Off to pack, pack and pack some more.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

The Best Day

Started out looking at this.... not bad.

My girls at the top of Chick Hill.

Ella venturing out on her own... and rushing back.

Hold the phone! Two entries in one day for this chiclet is a bit more than I can handle. But, alas, I will pull it off. If anyone read the previous entry, you know I had the day on-call from work, so it was basicly a freeby in the way of days off. We planned a trip up Little Chick Hill with the girls and it was fantastic.

I took my cell and a pair of scrubs should I get a call and off we went. This would be one of our first attempts at hiking with two little ones, as Ella has always ridden in the Kelty Kid Pack. She's finally at a point where hiking is possible all on her own. Maya has inherited the Pack. Suzanne and I took turns carrying Maya on our backs and Ella, being the big girl she is, hiked nearly all the way to the top. The rest of the way, Suz and I took turns with Ella on our shoulders. When we got to the top and sat to have refreshments, Ella began commenting on the beauty around us... "look how beautiful the sky is,..." "look at that cloud,..." "isn't it lovely up here?" I was filled with that welling up, tearful kind-of pride. I know Suzanne and I say these things, but I'm still proud even if it's modeled behavior.

Then, to top the day off, it gets even better. Not better than her appreciation of nature, but the day was filled with even more Mom-being-proud-kind-of-moments....

Do you see it????

Look a little closer....

My Nike girl. I can't relay the pure excitement and joy when I came out of the dressing room today and saw the Nike Swoosh on her feet.... those of you Nike fans might have some idea the intense love I have for what may seem like simply a brand name. To those of you who get it, thank you. The rest can enjoy the pictures.

Mmmmmmmmm... a great day.

July 4th at the Merrill-Maguire's

I know you're all going to be shocked that I'm writing... Suzanne is the blogwriter in the family. It's Sunday morning and I'm on call for work today. I'm already awake, but not completely functional yet. I would have gone back to bed when I took the call from my coworker, except that the nerves in my right index finger are hoppin'. I woke up really hungry and decided to try out the new organic toaster pastries we bought recently. I popped one in the toaster and began to gargle (sore throat). My intention was to sit at the computer, enjoy my pastry, and put some pics on the blog before work. When the pastry popped up, I swiftly tapped at the corner to flip it upright so I could put it on my plate. I chose the wrong corner... some sort of sweet sugary sauce had boiled out of the pastry and proceeded to scauld through my fingertip.

The good news is we have a beautiful aloe vera plant which I promptly plucked a piece of and covered my burned finger. The other good news is that it's completely quiet in the house with everyone asleep and I was able to post some new pictures as well as slideshows for our viewers' enjoyment.

Our July 4th weekend has been gorgeous and entirely fulfilling. I was commenting to Suzanne yesterday that I don't remember enjoying a Summer as much as this one. It's one thing to take in the beautiful weather, get outside and play, accomplish summer things. I feel truly blessed at this point in time to be drinking in the moments of my life. I feel joy to my core. It helps to have kids, I think. Everything is new and fresh. Even with war and George Bush, there is a beauty in the world that cannot be seen with the eyes, but felt with our hearts.

So here's a shout out to Mindy & Charissa for a rockin' good time at their barbecue
this weekend. Mindy, the food was AWESOME (and Charissa, too, for throwing together those biscuits). Charissa, I always LOVE your immense library of foreign accents... entirely entertaining for me, even if the kids don't appreciate it. And thanks to the boys for playing football, baseball, soccer with me. I've been itchin' for some sports in my life. Enjoy the pics...

Saturday, July 5, 2008

oops...from the blog archives

These pictures were saved as a draft and I just found it. Here is Baby Brayden sleeping like an angel, at about one week old. He is now a whopping 4 weeks old and I got to hold his precious, tiny bundle of a body yesterday. He is a sight to behold. I love and adore him and am SO glad not to have a newborn anymore.

Here are some pics of Ella and Michaela swimming in the pool. I look angry but I really wasn't. I think I was on the three of "1, 2, 3!"

And a quick, post-swim snack on the steps. Ahh... summer.

Friday, July 4, 2008

It's official

I knew it would happen at some point.

I honestly just didn't think it would be this soon.

It's really just so sad... Ella officially knows more about sports than I do.

For most of you, this will not come as a complete shock. After all, the Carver's have been teasing me relentlessly for more than seven years about my appalling lack of general sports knowledge. Case in point was the time a Red Sox game was on and the announcer was rattling off some numbers when one of the players was up to bat. I, having not learned ANYTHING about thinking before I speak about sports in front of them, said, "How horrible. Is it really necessary to announce the batter's weight for all to know?"

For any who are as uninformed as I, the numbers they were speaking about were the batting average rather than the number representative of the players girth.

Then there was the time that they kept talking about a "key match-up." I kept hearing it and finally (again, open mouth, insert foot) said, exasperatedly, "Who is this Key Matchup? Is that a new Red Sox player?" In fact it is when a really great batter and a really great pitcher are matched against each other and they expect a potentially great play. Oh, well... I know now. Not about match-ups, but about keeping my mouth shut.

So this morning Ella was playing around with Sandi's new football that she got to toss around the yard. Ella says, "Why is this called a football?" I was doing yoga at the time, and not giving it too much thought. I said, "Well, I suppose because you kick it with your feet."

Short pause. "No. You throw it with your hands," she says.

Of course, she's right. I defend myself with the fact that footballs are in fact kicked for a (?) field goal. But, largely, hands come in contact with the ball more than the feet. Perhaps I was thinking of the European football which is actually soccer...
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