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Monday, February 28, 2011

Send them to work

We had two dates last weekend.  Friday night Emilie and Skyler came and stayed at the house while we had an amazing super at Market Bistro (http://www.marketbistrobangor.com/) .  Then Saturday Matt and Ange took our kids OVERNIGHT.  It would be impossible to sum up what this time means to us.  Instead I will just say to our wonderful friends: THANK YOU.

I told Sandi today how nice it would be if we could just spend our days like this: take the kids to school, go to the gym/for a run/hike/bike, shower and have lunch together and then spend the afternoon (which would miraculously consist of 5 more uninterrupted hours) working in companionable silence- me writing and her studying. 

We looked at each other for a moment. 

"How would we make money?"  She asked.

"We could send our kids out to work,"  I suggested.

"Hmmmm.... Ella could work as a fashion designer and Maya....we could send her to the circus!"


I don't know if I have mentioned that Sandi is going to be starting graduate school full-time in the fall.  She is (and, consequently so are the rest of us) embarking on a 27 month course in nurse anesthesia.  When she graduates (or when they just tell her she's free to go) she will be a CRNA (Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist) and will be responsible for putting people to "sleep" when they have surgery (and ideally also "waking" them back up.)  It means a better work schedule, less or no holidays and only some on-call weekends, better pay, more autonomy and  less physically taxing work.

As a pre-requisite to starting the program in the fall, she needs to complete a biochemistry course.  So that means in addition to everything else (her three 12-hour shifts a week, my part-time massage practice, my training for a marathon and, oh yeah, the two kids) she needs 10 hours a week to study right now. 

And, yes, it also means that one of us is getting smarter by the day and the other of us is losing brain cells at an alarming rate being at home with kids.  (Can you guess which is which?)

Sandi will be gone three days a week in Portland for school starting the in fall (with 2-3 overnights).  This is not drastically different from her being gone 13-14 hours 3 days a week right now for work but it is overwhelming to think about not having another adult in the house at night in the event of emergency.  She is trying to coerce me into getting a puppy to have a "protection."  She has offered to train the puppy and take it to puppy school so we will be "safe" in her absence.

I told her that the only thing I will need then is a lobotomy.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

silly quotes, installment #335

From Maya:

"How does every people get big?"

To me, after I had brushed her teeth: "I will NOT poke your eye out with a knife!"

"I used to be a roller coaster." (News flash: she still is.)

When we pulled into the driveway at home: "Is Mochy (our dog) at work?"

In a moment of affection: "I just already love you."

Using a kitchen utensil she affirmed, "This is NOT a nose picker!"

When she was helping their babysitter, Olivia, pick up Maya thought she did such a remarkable job she announced, "Wow!  I am SO impressive!"

Following a screaming, crying tantrum in the car over a piece of (you guessed it) candy: "Look at my face,  It's not crying."

Words she has made up: "pokeadile" and "skunklin".  Used in a sentence:  "You are a such a skunklin!"  or if what you've done is really outrageous: "You pokeadile skunklin!!!"

From Ella:

I told her Friday night that the next day was "Sleep in Saturday" and that whoever stayed in bed the longest won.  She groaned, "Ohhhh.  I'm not good at that game!"  But guess what?  She won.  (I, on the other hand, did not.)

Ella is so not exposed to pop culture or its language.  The other day at a Brady's birthday party she poked her head through his snow fort window and yelled to me (incorrectly repeating what she had heard the bigger kids say) "That will be 50 ducks, including tax!"

Friday, February 18, 2011

occasionally easy to please

Most of the time I feel like I need to be spinning plate over my head while breathing fire and juggling chainsaws to keep my kids happy.

Then other times it seems impossibly, inexplicably easy.

(In truth it if I took less responsibility for their happiness it could probably be easy most of the time.)

Case in point: this afterschool snack made Maya, Ella and Skyler feel like they had arrived at some exotic island. The oohs and aaahs and the gobbling right down made me sit back and wonder why I sometimes try so hard.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

insult meet injury

On the way to school today Maya said she was three.

"Tell her how many years you are Momma,"  Ella says from the back.

"Thirty four."

"Wow, Maya, that is A LOT of years, isn't it."

Great start to the day.

sweet potatoes reinvented

Got any of these ugly lovely veggies in your pantry that you don't know what to do with?


Well if you want to head to the store and get 10 new ingredients and plan to spend some time in the kitchen, have I got a recipe for you! (Or you could just slap them in the oven and bake them till they caramelize and ooze which is by far easier and incredibly yummy.)

Not a persuasive sell, huh?

Okay, let me try again.

Get ready for a new way to experience what some experts refer to at the "perfect food"  (we call it the p.f. in our house for short). Combining texture, flavor and a nutritional punch this dish is sweet potatoes Indian style.

Here is a recipe I adapted from the Moosewood Cookbook:

Indian Sweet Potato Gratin:

2 gloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly grated lime peel
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4-1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/4-1/2 teaspoon curry
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 1/2 cups coconut milk (you can use light or 1/2 light and 1/2 regular)
4 cups peeled, halved then thinly sliced sweet potato (1  1/2 lb)
1 cup cooked brown rice
1 1/2 cup (15 oz can) black beans, drained
1 1/2 cups fresh baby spinach (or stemmed and chopped leaf spinach)

topping:
3/4 cup cornmeal
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon curry
1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 x 13 baking pan.

Combine garlic, lime peel, lime juice, spices, salt and pepper with the coconut milk.  Poor 1/3 of it into baking pan.  Layer half of the sweet potatoes, topped by half the spinach, half the rice, then half the black beans.  Pour another 1/3 of the coconut milk mixture over that.  Repeat with the remaining sweet potatoes, spinach, rice and beans.  Pour the remaining coconut mixture over everything.

Combine the ingredients for the topping and sprinkle it over the gratin.

Bake for 90 minutes, covering the pan at 60 minutes if needed.  The sweet potatoes should be soft.  If they are not, bake until they are. 

Tips:  you will need to buy 2 cans of coconut milk- if you have any left over you can freeze it.  Also, don't feel pressure to use all the spices if you don't have them. I just like a lot of spice and flavor and had fun playing with it.  Use fresh lime juice if you can- it adds so much more flavor.

There is no picture because, frankly, it wasn't all that beautiful looking but it tasted incredible.  I swear it was worth all the chopping and kitchen mess.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

love day

Sandi and I were going to go out to dinner for Valentine's Day but decided instead to have a cozy, quiet dinner at home by the fire. We planned out a menu, bought some specialty food and classy wine and had little to do but cook and relax for the afternoon and evening.

With Ella at school and Maya upstairs "resting" we managed to have lunch for two, even opening one of the bottles of wine.  This is relatively unheard of at our house (the lunch alone AND the wine in the middle of the day.)


And then we remembered that we have kids.

Too tipsy to be productive (kidding), we didn't get as much cooking as should have while the kids were occupied and then before we could blink school was over and the mayhem ensued.  There was more crying and fighting than was appropriate for love day (and at one point Maya smacked Sandi across the face getting out of the car and earned herself a spot in a nearby snowbank where she screamed her head off.) 

We did have some fun cutting hearts out of cookie dough all together and setting up some fancy food to eat in the living room at the kids' table (what Ella has termed a "feast") but bedtime was long and drawn out and by the time they were asleep we had a mere 90 minutes to make and enjoy our special dinner.  It was noticeable, in other words, that the kids were kind of cramping our style. 

On the menu: lentil pate with homemade pita chips, crackers with gourmet fruit paste and brie, freshly juiced carrot/beet juice, mini phyllo pastry packets with baby spinach, goat cheese and chicken (free range/organic- expense and heads above the grocery store chicken), carrot and orange soup and chocolate chip cheesecake (Sandi's specialty).

Sandi said, "Next year we need to pair it down.  We've taken on too much."  The idea was to have just a little of a lot of things but as it was we skipped two other menu selections.  We are neither realistic about time nor the size of our bellies.  The up side is we have a fridge full of delicious food to eat all week.  And a date for Thursday to try again for the quiet, cozy evening. without all the cooking.

The soup we selected (from "The Silver Palate Cookbook" by Julee Rosso and Shelia Lukins) was so unique and appetizing we couldn't stop saying, "Oh my goodness, this is SO yummy and unusual."

Carrot and Orange Soup

4 tablespoons sweet butter
2 cups finely chopped yellow onions
12 large carrots (1 1/2 - 2 pounds) peeled and chopped
4 cups chicken (or vegetable) broth
1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
grated fresh orange zest to taste

1. Melt the butter in a pot.  Add the onions, cover and cook over low heat until tender and lightly browned, about 25 minutes.
2. Add carrots and stock and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, cover and simmer until carrots are very tender, about 30 minutes.
3.  Pour soup through a strainer and transfer solids to a food processor (or blender) fitted with a steel blade.  Add 1 cup of the cooking stock and process until smooth.
4.  Return puree to the pot and add the orange juice and additional stock, 2-3 cups, if needed to achieve desired consistency.
5. Season to taste with salt, pepper and orange zest.  Simmer until heated and serve.


Can I also tell you that for Valentine's Day Sandi gave me a bar of chocolate and a new book?  I mean, short of adding in new pair of running sneakers it was like the perfect gift. 




4:50 AM

You would think waking up 3 hours before departure would give one enough time to do basic morning tasks as well as frost a few cookies.  I mean, they are cookies for crying out loud, not an experiment in nuclear fusion.

I intended to get up at 5:15 to complete the project but Maya started making noise at 4:50 this morning.  I went to grab her up before she woke Ella (they share a room) and sure enough she was talking in her sleep and I was up for the day.  Great,  a jump start on the 3 dozen heart-shaped sugar cookies awaiting my frosting expertise for Maya's school Valentine's party.

I head downstairs, build a fire in the wood stove, whip together some frosting, put the kettle on for tea and Ella wakes up.  Perfect.  "What can I do?  Can I watch TV?  Well if I can't what am I supposed to do?" Maya woke up 15 minutes later.  Sandi got Maya breakfast and I went to toast Ella a bagel and wondered why it took 5 minutes to toast only to find out I hadn't pushed the lever down.

I begin the artistic process (I am not artistic so making Minnie Mouse cookies requires all the artistic talent I possess) of decorating the cookies.  I get interrupted about 5,000 times.  I needed to leave the house with Ella, Maya and Skyler at 8 am.  In that 3 hours I decorated cookies, emptied the dish drain and dishwasher (from the mountain of dishes created by Sandi's and my cooking binge yesterday), made Ella's lunch, got the girls dressed, hair combed and teeth brushed, filled the pellet stove, packed my gym bag, ate my oatmeal standing up, filled out Ella's school forms, packed her backpack, packed Maya's backpack, put chocolates on Maya's valentines to take to school.  This process was made much smoother by having Maya alongside me HELPING me frost the cookies, having her throw her toothbrush on the floor mid brushing,  slip out of her clothes into her Belle dress-up gown while upstairs, and Ella dumping a box full of her Valentine candy "Nerds" I let her eat after breakfast all over the floor.  The cat went in and out 3 times.  The dog as well.

Did  I mention that I am ALSO trying to frost cookies?







So as I am trying not to blow my stack through all the commotion of the morning (and wondering how it is that 3 hours really isn't enough to add cookie frosting to my morning achievement list) I looked at the volunteer sign-up sheet for Ella's school winter festival on Friday. 

I stood in my kitchen, amidst the chaos, and said aloud to myself: "Good grief, Suzanne, get a grip.  You cannot do it all" and threw it in the fire.

Good girl.  Then I dropped all the kids off and did my 6 mile run instead of blowing my stack.


Below is the recipe for the polka dot Minnie cookies.  The others I just made up.

Minnie's Polka-Dot Cookies
By Cindy Littlefield
Inspired by the character: Minnie Mouse


You will need:
Heart-shaped cookie cutter
Batch of chilled sugar cookie dough (homemade or store bought)
2 cups powdered sugar
Small mixing bowl
Wooden spoon
3 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
Toothpick
Small plastic bag
Red food coloring

Directions

Cut heart shapes from the sugar cookie dough and bake them according to the recipe or package directions. Allow the cookies to thoroughly cool.

Prepare the cookie icing by sifting the powdered sugar into a small mixing bowl and then stirring in the milk. Add the corn syrup and stir until the mixture is smooth.

Use the toothpick to poke a small hole in the corner of the plastic bag. Then spoon a third of the icing into the bag. Set the bag aside for now.

Stir drops of red food coloring into the remaining icing in the bowl until you have the desired shade.

Cover your working surface with a sheet of waxed paper. Working with one cookie at a time, spread the tops with the colored icing and immediately use the icing-filled plastic bag to pipe on white dots. (If you do this while the tinted frosting is still fluid, the dots will spread nicely to the same level.) To keep the dots as round as possible, lift the bag straight up from the cookie after you've piped the icing. You can practice the technique beforehand by piping a few dots onto a piece of waxed paper.

Monday, February 14, 2011

more "foot"age

wait...shouldn't she have a helmet on?

I think Sandi and I always thought that if Maya was involved in a sport of some kind it would require a helmet. And likely protective gear.

We did not expect this.

Ange called and told me she was taking Anna to ballet and tap class.  Did I want to take Maya?

I wanted to ask:  is ballet and tap the warm up and bungee jumping is the main event?


They had an absolute ball.  For no apparent reason other than she has been hanging out too much with Ella, Anna has turned into quite a fancy little girl with a love of pink, dresses and tutus.  She was in her element.


Maya looked a tiny bit shell shccked...


but then was all over the free body expression happening in that dance studio.

I know we probably should have seen this coming after the Bippidi Bobbiti Boutique but how can a parent ever be prepared for something like this?

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

down a tusk

Breaking News!

After a long anticipated arrival Ms. Ella Carver's day of front tooth reckoning finally occurred. Ms. Carver won the match with her incisor this past Sunday in an unparalleled match of strategy, determination and some good old fashioned bony manipulation resulting in one stubborn front tooth's demise into the mouthless world beyond. At press time, Ms. Carver could not be reached for comment as she is touring the world displaying the bubble gum colored hole in her gum, the former residence of the aforementioned tooth. The question on everyone's mind has been, "When will the tooth fairy come?" and this reporter cannot gauge an answer since Ms. Carver is holding her tooth captive in a porcelain tooth box and seems largely unwilling to relinquish it to the winged fairy despite the promise of cash.

In other news, there seems to be a phenomenon occurring here in Maine and, ironically, within the same family as Ms. Carver's cousin ALSO lost a tooth recently.  He could not be contacted for comment either but an undisclosed source has discovered that he is holding his tooth for ransom from the Tooth Fairy for the sum of $100.  Needless to say, he is still in possession of his tooth at this time.
But the truly captivating part of this story is that perhaps there is a familial link to this ongoing tooth extraction situation.  The children's grandmother is ALSO without a front tooth at this time, leading experts to speculate that the Carver clan is in need of some cash and/or has a diabolical scheme to remove the Tooth Fairy from her nighttime prowls through bankruptcy or simply by putting her out of business. 

Sunday, February 6, 2011

snow storms, long runs and birthdays

My running girls and I had a super fun plan for our long run this week. This is the end of training week 4 for our May marathon and we were supposed to run 11 miles. We all registered for a race called the Mid-Winter Classic in Southern Maine (a 10 miler) and we were going to make a day of it.  Arrangements were made and the party (mini) van was set to depart carrying 2 birthday girls and it was to be a celebration as well as a run.
Except for this small annoying thing called it won't stop snowing in Maine.

The race was postponed by police order due to poor visibility caused by excessively high snow banks and another mini-storm predicted for Saturday into Sunday.  We quickly reorganized and decided it was even too unsafe to run on our local roads and made a plan to each get our runs in however we could and gather for brunch and birthday celebration. (And, damn, no trip to Trader Joe's.)

My mom came and babysat for me as planned since Sandi was working and I hit the gym and the treadmill early this morning.  Somehow, without it feeling like too much torture, I got all 11 miles done and felt reasonably good.  Then I showered at the gym (I wasn't about to go back home if had license to be gone) and headed over to Jen's house to meet the girls.

Since Jen's babysitting arrangements fell through and her husband was working, we all went to her house and, despite our insistence that she not cook for us on HER birthday, she made brunch -quiche and blueberry french toast casserole.  YUM.  Especially after 11 miles.

Emilie, the other birthday girl.

Christine brought the most important contribution.

For their birthdays Emilie and Jen got nothing less than you would expect from the rest of us...running stuff of course, including these super cool arm sleeves that I now covet.


In the end we decided it was actually really nice to just get together and sit and eat and chat, instead of struggling to breath the whole time.  Tempting to just meet for coffee rather than laced up and on the road but I honestly know (and appreciate) that that would never happen. 

I count these 5 women and one of the things I am SO very grateful for in my life.  The fact that they also keep me running?  Total side benefit.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

furniture galleria

For no apparent reason we decided it was time for "real" "adult" living room furniture.

We don't really qualify among the worthy because we still have an elderly dog who sometimes pees when she sleeps and, well, you know about the kids.

Shopping for furniture with two kids was an experience to behold (and not to repeat.)

They ran around the displays like children released from spring loaded guns. They sat on every chair, couch and even found a leather chaise lounge which they discovered was slippery. "It's a slide chair!" they announced and proceeded to use it as such.

I feared we would be asked to leave.

Here are some things that Ella said regarding the furniture:

"You can have my $20 for Disney Momma."  (to purchase a new living room set)

Then the next day: "You didn't use my $20 on the furniture did you?  Because I don't think furniture is that important."

She calls the love seat the "love" couch.  I don't know why but it makes this piece of furniture sound incredibly romantic to me now.
After we picked out our furniture she asked me what we would do with the old couch.  I told her when we got back from vacation the Salvation Army would come and pick it up.  The next day we were driving by the airport and she said, "Will our couch go on a helicopter like that one?"

You can imagine my confusion.  "Huh?"  I asked.

"You said that Salvation ARMY was picking up the couch and that is an ARMY helicopter isn't it?"

Whoa. 

By some miracle the Furniture Gallery where we got the furniture from offers some crazy warranty on their stuff.  For $100 the sofa, love seat, corner table, coffee table, sofa table and 2 bookcases are covered if anything at all (except cat scratching) happens to them.  So food spills, Maya taking scissors to the cushions, scientific experiments or art projects damaging the fabric...all covered.  I cannot believe they didn't up this price when they saw our kids in action but hey, lucky us!



Here are the girls making good use of a comfy spot:

Maya has been hearing about how we were going to get "the furniture" delivered when we got back from our trip.  Now whenever we say something about sitting on the couch she yells at us, "NO! It's not a couch!  It's FURNITURE!!"

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Cove

I want to talk to you about the dolphins. 

We kind of have a thing for dolphins, a deep awe that was sealed into place after our time at Sea World.  After hearing us gush about them, two different parties told us we needed to (once we had some distance from our trip) watch the documentary called "The Cove."

Of course, we watched it that night.

It is a documentary about the Japanese dolphin hunts, wherein dolphins are inhumanely captured then picked over by trainers for dophinariums (places like Sea World).  The film features Ric O'Barry, the former dolphin trainer for the show "Flipper", who had a profound experience with one of his trained dolphins and has spent the past 35 years advocating for the release of captive dolphins.  His very persuasive argument is that these sentient creatures, who are self-aware enough to recognize themselves, have incredible perceptive abilities and possibly feel emotion, should never be held in a captive environment.

The truly disturbing part of the film, however, is what happens to the dolphins who were not selected.  An average 23,000 dolphins are killed as a result of these hunts annually.

The main thread of O'Barry's argument is that having an industry for captive dophins creates a need for dophin hunts- basic supply and demand.  So if there were no dolphinariums where people pay big money to watch the tricks and flips of these impressive animals, the dophin hunts would disappear as would the massacre of countless dolphins. 

Sandi and I watched with identical expressions of shell-shocked horror, stunned into silence and frozen emotion.  I was told I would need a box of tissues nearby, yet was unable to produce a single tear I was so stunned.  We promptly did some research and discovered that, while Sea World obviously has captive dolphins, they no longer obtain them from these inhumane dolphin hunts.  Eighty percent of their dolphins are born in captivity (I would have to argue here that while captivity is against their nature, at least they didn't go from wild to confined) and the remaining 20% are rescued.  This at least made us feel slightly less sick about all the money spent and appreciation felt toward Sea World just last week.  

After watching the movie, I had strange, vivid and emotionally disturbed dreams all night.  The next morning, I got on the treadmill to run and something unlocked in me.  Suddenly the tears were flowing like a spigot had been turned and there was no stopping them.  I could not stop thinking of the suffering of these creatures whose cries of distress were not far removed from the pleas of a terrified child. I am still somewhat haunted by it.

I will admit I vacillate between wanting to put my head in the sand and wanting to become president of whatever group serves the currently persecuted.  There are just so many injustices in the world, I find too much focus on them brings me so much pain and leaves me feeling so disempowered.  I can tell you that this film (which, did I mention, won an OSCAR?) has mobilized thousands of people into action which will hopefully have some positive impact on the atrocities happening in the Japanese waters. 

We both questioned if we regretted that we had gone to Sea World in light of this newfound knowledge.  Now that we know that captive dolphins often have to be given Maalox for ulcers caused by stress- the stress these acoustically oriented animals have when they are performing in noisy stadiums before clapping and yelling fans- and that they often suffer from depression.  Ultimately the answer was no.  We simply were ignorant to the circumstances. 

The more difficult question, though, is would we go back?  Would we once again pay money that supports this captivity?  We both agreed that we simply don't know.  There is an enormous amount of educational benefit to having people interact with these animals- any captive animals really.  Yes, selfishly, it was deeply gratifying for our family to touch and play with the dolphins.  But beyond that, imagine all the people who don't give a damn about the environment who may have an experience at a place such as Sea World and suddenly care about a species of animal and the threat on their habitat, whether ocean or savannah or rain forest.  Perhaps it is this closer contact that makes someone start to recycle, stop littering, make more environmentally conscious choices in their lifestyle and spending.  Should the dolphins be held captive, unable to swim their typical 40 miles a day, so that humans can smarten up?  No they shouldn't.  But, honestly, their future may depend on a few to be held in order to represent for the remainder of them.
I hope you will watch the film.  Not to be depressed, but to be moved...moved into an even greater wanting for this world to be a place where goodness and justice and respect abound.

http://www.thecovemovie.com/

(We watched it live streaming from Netflix which was free since we are members.)

stats

Well, as the videos show, we obviously had a good time in Florida.

But I can tell you I don't really feel as though Maine put the red carpet out for us- snow and cold were waiting exactly where we left them. I can say I wouldn't trade the trip for anything, but leaving and returning to the cold might be harder than just staying in it.

I was told I was not allowed to complain but I did not promise any such thing so I may just go ahead and complain.


Some statistics about our trip:

Number of showers taken at the resort = 1 (hello! we took baths in the jacuzzi tub)
Number of tissues used to wipe Ella's constantly dripping nose = 1,247
Amount of U.S. dollars spent at Whole Foods for a weeks worth of organic breakfasts and suppers = 200
Number of dips in the "heated" pool in 60 degree weather = 2
Number of times Maya ran away from us and kept running despite our shouts for her to stop = 5,762
Number of times a Disney cast member asked if we needed assistance = 10,324
Number of runs completed on Suzanne's marathon training plan = 1 (at least it was a 5 miler)
Number of steps taken on Disney property= 20,000 per person per day (half of which were taken with a child aboard our bodies in some manner.)
Number of times we put the top down = 5 (not including my solo trips to the Walgreen's 1 block away.)
Number of times we craved a drink = 147
Number of alcoholic drinks consumed in the week = 7 beers (pathetic, I know)
Number of scary, adult roller coasters Ella went on = 2 (!)
Number of nights it took of complaining about the fact that we had no chocolate before I finally went out and bought some= 4
Number of times I asked Sandi if she had the park tickets when we left the resort= 561
Number of times I wondered if Maya would be having just as much fun at the running away from us at our local mall as she did at Disney World = 798
Amount of money spent on hair shellac, tiaras, princess costumes and hair pulling = unprecedented
Amount of time it took to drive to the parks from the resort= 10 minutes
Amount of time it took to get from parking lot into the park = 10-45 minutes
Number of times people looked at us with a mix of pity and amusement while we wrangled Maya = 432
Number of times Maya told her grandparents she loved them = 658

Number of times we would save up and go all over again?  I bet you can guess.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Thank you for being there.

Here is the last of the videos for now...I think of it as "Ode to the Grandparentals." These are Sandi's remarkable parents and their children (biological and newly acquired) and their four grandchildren.

The presence of Patti and Dwight, as parents and grandparents, is utterly immeasurable. They are the parents that hear you have a flooded garage and don't call but rather jump in the car and drive 2 hours, showing up unannounced with rubber boots and shovels. They are the reason our kids have such sturdy LLBean clothes, the reason we get to eat so much lobster, the reason we live in a beautiful house, the reason we get overnights away and have pet safe rock salt. They are one of the reasons that our girls know profoundly how deep love runs. They have taught me how insignificant a role biology plays in the bonds of family.

They are the reason that we know, forever and always that someone has our backs. All parents should be as lucky as us- to have a safety net firmly in place for when we fall (because we have and will continue to.)

Since it would be impossible to really SAY how much we (and our girls) love them, we will just show you.




(And, damn, can I say how much our movie making has improved??)