Saturday, July 31, 2010

dancing to the music of the waves

the more things change...

A lot has changed from the first picture to the second but so much more hasn't. They may not sport the whale spout hairdo anymore and they both find the idea that they ever wore diapers ludicrous, however they both still love their thumbs, an ear, a certain stuffie named Twinkie and being with each other.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

playing at the dinner table

I am a huge fan of board games. I have loved them since forever. I played Uncle Wiggly and Chutes and Ladders as a very little girl and I still enjoy a rousing competitive game of pictionary or trivial pursuit. I purchase games for my kids for birthdays and Christmas every year. Some have been big flops, like the Ben 10 game played only once. Others we no sooner finish and we're already setting up to play again. Like everyone else though, our lives are beyond busy. The demands of school, sports, extra-curricular activities and work make it hard to play an extended board game. This unassuming little metal box has come to the rescue. Dinner Games contains about fifty cards with ideas for games that you can play at the kitchen table. Most require little or no materials and little to no prep. I originally bought this as a family gift for Christmas but Santa was so generous, I decided to hold on to this for another time. About a month ago, I pulled it out of the closet and set it on the table without saying a word. The kids hadn't even put their bottoms in their chairs before they were asking about it. I pulled the first card out of the box and read off the directions and we began to play. It has been a huge success. We've only played a handful of the cards and every one of the suggested games have got us thinking, laughing and working together. I love it. It's a way to get our game fix when we don't have a lot of extra time and it also adds another element to dinner time. We don't put it out every night but the nights that little metal box is sitting on the table gets the kids running to the table and some nights find us sitting in our seats still playing long after we've finished eating.

Monday, July 26, 2010


Sam calls upholstered chairs and couches in waiting areas "comfy collages" I have no idea how he came up with that. The comfy part is obvious but collages? Just don't know.

Sam also refers to his new room as the audition. He spends oodles of time wandering in there and just sitting and looking at his new digs.

My parents were watching the kids for me while I took the dogs to dog training class. Teresa happened to have a stomach bug and was throwing up. My Dad commented to my Mom: I wonder what's the matter with Teresa? Katie overheard his query and puzzled: Papa....I thought you were supposed to be a doctor?

The person that invented Japanese erasers can go suck eggs. Do you know what a blight these things are on my existence? Erasers that are the size of a large coin actually come apart into several teeny tiny little pieces and are puzzles. Sounds like an adorable idea but have you ever wasted time you don't have searching the floor of a van for the pinhead sized eyes to a bluebird? Talk to me once you have. Same thing goes for the person who decided Polly Pocket should have removable shoes. And I had the audacity to complain about Barbie's shoes.

The last two weeks have been unbearably hot and humid. I thank God for my air conditioning. I can't even believe I'm going to complain about this but I am. I miss an open window. Especially in the morning or at night. I love listening to the early morning songs of the birds, the late night croaks of frogs and the other noises of nature.

We got Katie's acceptance letter to preschool (be still my heart). She has been wearing her backpack daily since it came.

Sam told Teresa : I really liked you a lot when you were three.
Teresa: why?
Sam: because you didn't know so many words back then and couldn't argue all the time.
Teresa: that's so mean! And it's not true. I knew a lot of words when I was three!

I told Katie God is in her heart. She now thinks that he physically resides inside her body. Kind of like an alien invasion. I overheard her tell her friend that Jesus gets hungry and when she eats he gets some of the food too. I'm not so sure that's exactly Catholic doctrine.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

fit to wrap a little Princess in

This past February my sister had her fourth child, and first baby girl. She was named after her most amazing aunt (and her grandmother but really it's all about her aunt). Walking into the hospital room after M was born was walking into an explosion of pink. I decided I was going make Miss M a delicious little quilt as precious and girly as she is. I kept it simple so I could finish it in time for her Baptism in May. I finished in the nick of time, taking up the last few stitches the day before her Baptism. I adore the combination of fabrics from simple cottons to eyelet to silky satin to the flannel to the soft plush pink. I also adore the colors of pinks, whites and greens. This project was so satisfying. I think mostly because I actually finished it.

Monday, July 19, 2010

pick your own

This weeks haul from the CSA. Look how pretty the eggplant is! This week we got blueberries in our pickup. We had the choice to get a pint at the farmstand with all the other produce or to go to the farm and pick a quart. I am not one to refuse free food so we decided to pick our own blueberries. We ended up picking enough for two quarts in less than a half an hours work. This week we got some leeks. Something I have never used or even eaten. Anyone have any recipes they'd recommend?

A couple pics from our blueberry picking outing. Teresa wants to make blueberry pie. I think I'm going to make some mini pies instead of a full pie. Not only are they cuter, I think they'll get eaten up quicker than a big pie.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

two disheveled princesses

What? Doesn't everyone wear tiaras and veils to watch television?

Side note: The two blankets Kate has wrapped around her serving as her veil and dress are not being used for lack of dress up dresses. We have a room, yes a room, full of dress up dresses. Lately she has gotten attached to these blankets and she carries them both with her almost everywhere. She loves wearing the smaller one on her head like this to pretend she has long hair like Rapunzel. You know what it reminds me of? Remember when Linus wraps his blankie around his head in the Christmas special as his shepherd's headgear so Lucy won't punch him for having a blankie?

Do you see the resemblance too?

Friday, July 16, 2010

what do you want to do this summer?

I've mentioned before that I am a listmaker. I like lists. They keep me sane and help me to feel as if I've actually got things together. Every summer for the last five years or so, I've asked my kids to come up with their own list of what they'd like to do over summer vacation. These lists are great for a variety of reasons. They serve as inspiration when you have one of those "what should we do today days?" They also help me plan some bigger excursions. And lastly, they serve as a huge reminder to me that it's the little things in life that really count. Overwhelmingly, the items on their lists are things like "do cartwheels on the beach", "go swimming", "go fishing", make things, and ride bikes (not that they can yet but whatever). The things I look back fondly on from my own childhood are the same kinds of things my kids count as unforgettable. I love this. It frees me up from feeling like we have to have all kinds of big entertainment built into our summer or I've somehow failed my children, which allows me to just kick back with my kids and enjoy the summer with them.

Katie dictated her list to me. She made sure to sign her name in several places so everyone would know this was indeed her list.

1. swimming
2. fishing
3. go to beach
4. take boogie boards to Matunuck
5. go to Preschool (in September but the anticipation is killing her!)
6. do a garden when the dogs are older
7.make a quilt for my American Girl Doll
8. grow a flower
9. walk to the bogs
10. make presents and give them to the whole family (isn't that just the sweetest?)
11. go to my friend's house
12. look for heart shaped rocks
13. build a treehouse (Daddy will do it)
14. have a lemonade stand
15. Imagination Island (indoor playspace)
16. play in the sand
17. cook gingerbreads
18. go to a a recital with singing and dancing
19. make cookies
20. bike riding
21. playground
22. ice skating
23. go to our cousin's houses to play
24. have a big sleepover
25. have a pool party
26. paint a very big picture

Teresa is a champion listmaker. She titles her list. She makes sure to number everything and she even lettered her paper too. I love the little drawings she added, unfortunately I cut the letters and most of the pictures out when I took the picture and I'm too lazy to take another and upload it. Because that's just so much work. You'll just have to use your imagination.

1. go out to dinner, lunch, and breakfast and desert. (all in one day mind you)
2. make a bird feeder
3. make two quilts for Rebecca and Chrissa (American Girl Dolls)
4. do cartwheels at the beach.
5. Happy birthday Teresa ! (as if we could forget)
6. wait till Tom Brady leaves (an inside family joke that's really not all that funny but...)
7. make a lemanad stand
8. go letterboxing
9. have a play day with Hadi
10. give hugs to everyone (so sweet)
11. teach Sam to hoola hoop (makes me laugh to even picture it)
12. I will go to movies
13. bike ridering
14. I will rollerskateing
15. Gatment game (Gatemen are a local college kid summer baseball team)
16. Sam going to Gatment
17. going to Storyland
18. sleepover
19. pool party
20 plant seeds
21. look in bright ideas book and do
22. take an art class with Mommy (awwww)
23. Day with dad and Day with Mom
24. have a fashion show
25. plant a tree 2x

Sam's list is short and sweet
1. swimming
2. swimming in pool (in case he wasn't clear enough in #1)
3. fishing
4. swimming at pond
5. swimming at beach (do you think he's made his point?)
6. miny golf
7. mic donalds
8. paw Sox
9. sleep over
10. make tree house with Dad
11. castle iland
12. lemondade stand
13. imragination iland
14. play date
15. do obstical corse mom forgot to do (back in November I told him I'd set up an obstacle course for him and I kept forgetting to make it...I guess he didn't)

I added a few things of my own. Blueberry picking, swan boats, chasing fireflies, outdoor concerts, camping out in the backyard are just a few of the things on my list. We have been busy enjoying our summer and I'm happy to say we could cross many requests off already. But instead of looking at the lists as must do's...something to be done and checked off...we're viewing them as a place to jump off of and simply basking in where ever it takes us.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

it's not rocket science

When we decided to adopt Daisy and Mudge we realized we would need to go out and pick up a few essentials. So off we went to the nearest Petco to pick up a crate, some food, treats, and of course collars and leashes. They were little puppies so we got two adorable flat nylon collars and two nylon leashes much like the ones pictured below.

Now these two puppies did not stay so little very long and within a month we had to head back out to Petco to pick up two medium nylon collars. It didn't take long for them to outgrow their medium collars. So, around the same time we had to upgrade to the biggest damn crate on the market for these two monsters, we had to once again get two more nylon collars, this time in the large size.

While they were still sporting their medium collars, I decided it would be fun to take them down to a path along a little waterway the kids and I love to walk along. My two fun loving easy going puppies turned into crazy unpredictable barking maniacs less than two minutes after getting out of the van. There I am trying to control them as they pulled and spun and tugged in every direction until I had leashes wrapped around my legs and my hands were raw from the leashes rubbing and I was ready to pack them right back into the van. But I thought I should soldier on, so I did. Big mistake. Big. Big. Mistake.

We managed to make it down the path to the park at the end with the leashes wrapped over and over around my hands so the dogs had no slack on the leash at all. Sounds so fun for them, no? And that's when it happened. Some idiot (I hate calling names but really the guy was nothing less than an idiot) enters the park with his dog off the leash. A pit bull no less. Now I know pit bulls get a bum rap but still, a pit bull running leashless through the park. A park full of other kids and other dogs. Not a good idea with any dog, if you want my opinion. And my puppies went ballistic. They were barking and contorting and writhing as they tried to...what? I don't know. Join her? Attack her? Just go over and say hello? I just don't know but it didn't look friendly...and Miss Pit Bull's owner was nowhere near his dog. I hollered at the guy to put his dog on it's leash and he said, and I quote, "She's really friendly. A sweetheart." She could have been goddamn Mother Teresa, but with two demented hounds hollering their heads off at her, she was bound to react. And that is when it happened. Daisy went one way and I pulled at her leash, while nearly dislocating my shoulder at the same time, and next thing I know, she has slipped right out of her collar and was off and running. I literally launched myself at Daisy, dragging Mudge on his leash with me, and managed to grasp her by the folds on her back and I wrapped arms and legs around her while simultaneously yelling "PUT YOUR DOG ON IT'S LEASH!" I think I may have sworn but I'm not sure, that part is just a little fuzzy in the details. I must have looked deranged. The idiot got the message and put his dog on a leash. I somehow managed to get Daisy's collar back on her even though I never once let go of Daisy or Mudge's leash. I stood up, attempted to brush off both my muddy jeans and my humiliated ego, and snarled through my gritted teeth at the kids to get a move on. We made it back to the van without further incident. The very next morning found us in Petco once again.

I explained to the salesperson what had happened and asked her what she thought I should purchase so I could walk them without their getting away from me. The nice woman recommended harnesses.

She fitted them each into a harness and we went on our merry way. First of all, I have to state that I am an intelligent person. Second of all, it took me something like 15 minutes to put the dogs in the harnesses. They were freaking complicated. While the harness was something they couldn't slip out of, it still took every ounce of my strength to control both dogs at the same time.

I used the harnesses for several weeks but walks with the two behemoths were not fun for me at all. I spent all my time and energy trying to keep them from dragging me off my feet and was only successful some of the time. There had to be something better. I asked around and several people recommended a Haltee or the Gentle Leader. I paid yet another visit to Petco and purchased two size large Gentle Leaders.
I should have known when I bought them that they were not going to work for us. They came with an eight page instruction book and a dvd to tell you how to fit it on the dog and use it. I fitted one on Daisy which she pawed at and bucked to try and remove it. She was unsuccessful though. I fitted the other on Mudge and he reacted the same way Daisy had. He, however, was very successful at removing the offending Gentle Leader. A half a dozen attempts later, he was still able to get it off within five minutes. I gave up on him and read the booklet and tried to get Daisy used to walking with it on. Oh, forgot to mention, they also came with a warning not to pull or jerk the dog because you could cause serious neck injuries. Daisy did NOT read the booklet and she kept pulling away. Worried I was going to cause debilitating injury, I admitted defeat, took off the Gentle Leader and packaged them both back up and returned them. At that point I had signed my menaces up for puppy school and the trainer told me what to buy. Back again to Petco and we left with two choke collars and two leather leashes.

She did not specify a specific length of leash and of course first thing she says to me when I brought them to their first class was "those leashes aren't long enough. You need the six foot leashes." Of course I do. Because I really want to make ANOTHER freaking trip to the goddamn petco. I was very anxious as to how their class would go and while I can't say they were star pupils (we couldn't even go in the door without first getting a private tutorial), they also didn't do too badly. The trainer checked over their collars before we began and noted that they will most likely need the next size up in choke collars soon. Really? I seriously just bought them last month. And if the choke collars don't seem to rein them in we may need to upgrade to the scary looking prong collars.

So far the choke collars seem to be doing the trick when I'm walking them one at a time. Time will tell if I need to make the jump to what appears to be a bear trap you wrap around the neck. I'd probably injure myself just trying to put it on them.

I cannot believe I have spent so much money on collars and leashes. But what really boggles the mind is that I can't figure out something that should be so simple. I mean, who goes into a pet store and needs someone to help them choose a collar? Seems so silly, but take my word for it, it is not simple. At training class last night I discovered I was putting the choke collars on them incorrectly. My eighteen year old niece showed me the proper way to put the collar on them. I don't know, maybe it's me. Anywho, it's time I paid another visit to Petco...I think they may be missing me, It's been over a week since my last visit.

Monday, July 12, 2010

a present every Saturday

This year I bought a share in a CSA farm (Community Supported Agriculture). I paid a fee upfront and every week from the first week of June through October, I can head down to the farmstand and fill my bags with produce they've selected for that week. Oh, how I love Saturdays! Not that I didn't love them to begin with. But now I've got the added attraction of fresh produce too. To add to the fun, I don't know what I will be getting each week until I get there. I am such a geek but I get all excited wondering what lovely produce awaits me every Saturday. The first few weeks brought me a lot of lettuce. Lots of it and many different kinds of lettuce. I do love me a good salad but after a couple weeks the novelty wore a little thin and I think I did a little jig when the strawberries, broccoli and peas replaced the many bags of lettuce. Not that we are firmly in the middle of the growing season here in New England my bags leave the farmstand stuffed to the gills with zucchini, summer squash, blueberries, beets, corn, and green beans. CSA's don't do a lot of advertising but it doesn't take much to find farms in your area that are participating. It's a small way to help support our local farmers and put some fresh, local and organic food on your table.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

true colors

You with the sad eyes
Don't be discouraged
Oh I realize
It's hard to take courage
In a world full of people
You can lose sight of it all
And the darkness inside you
Can make you feel so small

But I see your true colors
Shining through
I see your true colors
And that's why I love you
So don't be afraid to let them show
Your true colors
True colors are beautiful,
Like a rainbow

And I'll see your true colors
Shining through
I see your true colors
And that's why I love you
So don't be afraid to let them show
Your true colors
True colors are beautiful,
Like a rainbow

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Here's to the red, white and blue!

We're celebrating Independence Day! Happy Fourth Folks!