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Monday, July 19, 2010

true story

This morning, as I was brushing Ella's hair, she told me that she does not like it tucked behind her ear the way I tend to do when I fix it.

"The girl in the picture didn't have it tucked behind her ear like that." She was referencing the photo of the girl who had the hairstyle she choose at the hair dressers.

"And she had a round face like me. It doesn't look good on a round face. Maybe it would look better on an oval face like you have."

Suddenly self-conscious of my oval-shaped face, I glanced in the mirror.

Well I'll be...she was right. Smiling back was one cute little circle and a slightly less cute, more tired looking oval.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

paradise...90 minutes from our driveway

Acadia National Park.

Certainly one of the most beautiful places on earth.

And, luckily, our playground.

This is the spectacular, aptly named, Sand Beach. We try to go every year with Emilie and kids.

This year, three extraordinary things happened.

First, we figured out how to get there without going through the park entrance, thus keeping the twenty dollar fee we have paid every other year. Ah, yes. The shortcut. The secret. Don't ask me to post it because I can't. But just let me say if you get there early enough to get a parking spot, don't mind a woods trail walk-in of maybe 5 minutes for a normal party and 15-20 minutes for our party, and a modicum of complaining, it is totally worth it.

Second, the water was an exquiste blue, carribean blue, a blue I have never quite seen on the coast of Maine.

And third? Well, Emilie, Sandi and I all left our good sense at home and sun screened our kids up in good fashion (you can burn at the beach! even when it's windy!) and decided against doing the same for ourselves. We thought we had had enough sun not to burn. We didn't feel like we were burning. We'd look at the others and say, "Oh, you're shoulders look a little pink!" Things were said such as, "I'm turning over a lot so I don't think I will burn."
Stupidity ruled and we burned. Badly.
We came home and Sandi said, "Well, I have been wanting to try out my new aloe plant."
My reply: "I'm so glad I charred my skin off so that you could do a test run!"
Six days later we have blisters on parts of our skin. Emilie said her legs were swollen the next day.
If there was such a thing as the skin cancer police, he would have a warrant out for our arrest.

See me dutifully applying sunscreen to our child?

Yet, while we were sitting there unknowingly burning to a crisp, we had a ton of fun.

Ella and Skyler made a "lake." Skyler was the worker bee on this project. Unlike Ella who was up on the blanket having snacks, Skyler worked straight through.
This is actually the color of the sky that day. A man was flying this kite and Sandi took its photo while in flight.
Reedo, our most handsome godson. I think he only took off into the pounding surf a dozen or so times and only disappeared completely from sight less than 4 times. He must be maturing.

A meeting of the girls club...
Maya, looking strangely like Ella's bodyguard.

Perhaps my favorite part of the trip was when Ella asked if I could please turn the heat on in the car (the air conditioning was ostensibly too much for her). I told her no, it was summer, but I would turn the a/c down. "I want the heat!" she demanded. Emilie, unafraid to tell a white lie to quiet the unrest said, "There, now the heat is on low, right Suzanne? Everyone feeling better?" Wink, wink.
Then a few minutes later, with a chuckle, "Ummm, could you please turn the heat down a little? I'm kind of hot back here."

the fleecing of Old Country Road

There was a lemonade stand set up on the Old County Road near my house yesterday as I drove to my haircut appointment. I had left in time to be exactly on time (I'm somewhat neurotic in this fashion) and as I drove by, the kids arms waving down cars and potential customers with an enthusiasm that would make any salesman proud, I had a nostalgic moment.

Knowing that I would sacrifice the 3-5 minutes that would cost me my punctuality, I turned around.

"It's not everyday you see a lemonade stand!" I said to the three kids as I got out of my car.

The sign read: "Lemonade 50 cents."

But this was no ordinary roadside lemonade kiosk. Oh, no. This stand had several avenues for cash flow potential. They had "cookies" (graham crackers spread with frosting and topped with, now melted, chocolate chips), book marks made from some woven, artsy-craftsy kid activity, and "goodie bags" (consisting of a pencil, a little note pad, and an eraser.) "You're little kid will love it!" the boys says, pointing at Maya in the car.

"I will take one of everything," I said proudly, happy to encourage these budding innovators.

More like savvy, stick-it-to-you entrepreneurs.

"That will be 50 cents for the lemonade, 25 cents for the cookie, $5 for the bookmark and $5 for the goody bag."

Do you take debit cards? I felt like asking.

I'm not really sure what the best move here was. I didn't really have the time to devote to it since I had a punctuality issue at hand, and I wasn't sure if I should let the kids know that what they were charging was outrageous. After all were those Prada bookmarks?

There was a babysitter there with the kids who kept a tight lip so I just politely told them that I would take the lemonade and the cookie and pass on the other items. I gave them a generous overpayment of $2, wondering if that was a kind thing to do or if it just taught them more unreality about money.

I left thinking to myself, does anyone else just buy lemonade on a hot day and not think of these ethical issues?????

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

the parrot in the back seat

We've been so busy out living that I haven't had much time to blog. I take tons of pictures and then just can't seem to bring myself inside for the necessary amount of time to actually produce a post. (It doesn't help that I have computer issues, personally about me, not about my computer, so everything takes me twice as long.)

I have a bag permanently packed for the beach which I think is a sign of a great summer. We've been to the beach/swimming a dozen times already and I had to buy a second bottle of sunscreen, another tell tale sign of sheer outdoor delight.

I heard someone say today, "Summer is going by too fast." And I was so happy to be able to disagree. I feel like I am soaking every last sweaty bit out of it. I've been on my bike, on my feet, up a mountain, had my feet buried in sand, have eaten outside a bunch, and have a 14 day vacation rounding the corner in which we are planning to essentially move to camp for the duration. (Guests welcome.) Summer in Maine is short. You can't allow it to be shorter by not being present. At least that is my motto.

All that being said, at some point I will post pictures of all this fun being had.

Maya's new favorite thing is to ask how you are. It sounds like this:

"How are you, Momma?"
"Good, Maya. How are you?"
"I'm very well. How are you?"
"Good, Maya. How are you?"
"Very well. How are you?"

Ad infinitum.

Except when I throw in a little variety:

"How are you Momma?"
"I'm awesome Maya. How are you?"
"No! You're not awesome. How are you?"
"Stupendous Maya. How are you?"
"No! You are VERY WELL!"

Sometimes I wonder why she didn't come with a volume button.

summer eats

There are lots of reasons to love summer, but for sure the food alone is reason to be smitten. Because our house in infused with fresh, organic, local veggies every Tuesday (I have some sort of new potato, bok choy, red onion and garlic scape quichy thing in the oven right now), we have raspberries ripe for the picking and the children entertaining, and then cherries go on sale for $1.99 per pound (and I buy $30worth)... it is just a good time to eat.

This is a typical summertime meal for the girls:

Sandi and I, doing our part to eat every single leaf of lettuce our CSA farm pawns onto us each week, eat A LOT of salad. Like for a whole meal, probably 5 times a week. I've gotten more creative this year with finding recipes for new salads and ways to use the veggies that I haven't before and it is paying off. I will post my favorites.

But while the salad is being chopped, the chaos of the pre-bedtime events underway, there are always the cherries...

If you have never tried this, trust me on this one: freeze a small Ziploc of washed cherries and pull them out on a super hot day. Allow them 15 or so minutes at room temperature then pop one whole in your mouth. It is like the best Popsicle ever. Our kids go crazy over them. Plus a sandwich sized Ziploc of them, if you ration them a bit, can last you on a car ride from Hampden to Moxie Falls. I'm just sayin'....

Sunday, July 4, 2010

a tale of 2 friendships

This, of course, is my friend Emilie.

She is a huge part of my life and my family. Life would be unimaginable without her.

And here is the story of how it all came to be...

See we met 6 years ago in hypnobirthing class- a class where they teach you how to have a pain free (ahahahahaha!!!!!) childbirth. We were both suckers, along with our partners, and met in the (mostly) serene living room of a local Douala and her pesky pug dogs who breathed and licked in ways that were R rated.

This was Emilie when I first met her.

(Sorry Em, I seriously COULDN'T find a pregnant pic of me too.)

Before we knew it we had these screaming bundles of baby and we did what all smart women do. We became fast friends.

(To be sure to include Sandi, she and Emilie also formed a bond and most of these pictures were taken by Sandi when the three of us were together. It's just that Em and I being the primary caretakers of the children, have spent a ton of time together while our partners are otherwise occupied and we have come to heartily depend on each other.)

The thing is, so did our girls...

Born only 6 weeks apart, they've been together since the beginning.

(I think it is utterly adorable that Skyler has her hand on Ella in both of these photos!)

While new motherhood was often daunting it didn't stop us from doing what we love. Maybe it should have. But it hasn't.

We've been hiking,

we've been to the beach,

and to every single birthday party.

There have been lots of laughs,

lots more trips to the beach,

pounds of snacks consumed,

and still more birthdays,

and even had the guts to make snowman one Christmas. Two type A personality moms with 2-year-olds making intricate snowmen??? (Sandi took the pictures and just shook her head and laughed at us as we tried to manipulate our kids into snowman making perfection...)

While the kids went downstairs and jumped we tried our hand at the snowmen...

and laughed ourselves silly at how they came out!

Over the years, there has been a lot of love,

more snacks,

camping trips,

and still more trips to the beach.

Then, along came Reed.

Followed 9 months later by Maya.

These girls have grown up before our eyes. Skyler has taught Ella to be brave and Ella has taught Skyler...well, maybe to be less bossy (and maybe a thing or two about dresses I'm not sure.) Em and I have shared tears of joy and pride as well as heartbreak. We have called on each other in need, had tons of fun, used each other as sounding boards for anything from parenting, to being a woman in the world, to being a partner, and now to both being runners. Together we've changed hair styles, body shape, set and achieved big goals, shared our families, our best bread recipes, our worries. We've held each other's babies as they've grown into children, told them "no" when they needed it, and rescued each other from childcare overload more times than I can count.

Not everyone is lucky enough to have a friend like this- one who can walk in your house without knocking, who drops off fresh bread on her way to work, who would drop everything and come if you needed, one who reminds you of your magnificence lest, in a weak moment, you forget.

Sometimes you're lucky enough to have such a friend...

and sometimes it happens twice.


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