Sunday, October 30, 2011

Brrrr! It's Cold Out Here!

And I mean, REALLY COLD!  It's only the end of October and already, we've had snow in New England.  

Yesterday, we woke up to snow in our yard...

covering our Halloween pumpkins...

... our shrubbery....

and our deck furniture.

It's the kind of freezing weather that makes you want to put on your warmest pajamas and curl up with a good book in the comfort of your centrally-heated house.


This is New England and these are people who do not allow a little cold weather and crazy-early snow fall to keep them from enjoying outdoor, fall sports.  Even though I had hoped we'd get an email telling us to go back to bed and that soccer had been cancelled, the email never arrived.

Instead, Josie and I bundled up in as many layers as we could and headed over to the soccer field.

I do not like to be cold, so I wore a down jacket and figured that all the native New Englanders would have a good laugh at my expense.

Ha, ha!  Look at Martha!  Silly little New Jersey woman, thinks it's cold just because it's 40 degrees and snowy out!

...but at least I looked snazzy.  Did I not?

I dressed Josie in the following:  one Under Armor Cold Weather layering shirt, one pair thick wool tights, one heavy-weight soccer jersey, one pair shin guards, one pair thick soccer socks, one fleece coat, one pair of warm woolen mittens and a winter hat.

I thought I might have gone over board with both Josie and myself, except that when we arrived on the field, we saw that every one had done the same thing.... a few of the girls were even wearing their down jackets on the soccer pitch:

Some of the watching parents had their down coats on, too.  So the general hilarity I feared my jacket might create never happened.

A good thing, too, because I wasn't in the mood.

It was just too cold for snide comments and sarcastic retorts.

We have one week left of 1st grade soccer.  Considering the fact that it is supposed to snow again tonight, I figure next week I will have on snow pants, ugg boats and hand warmers in my pockets.  

I'll need to have all those items out and ready to go come the start of "spring" soccer in March anyway.  It's just as cold then, too!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The End of the Week Blogging Blues

I've hit a blogging rut.

The kids are busier than ever and yet, I find myself with absolutely nothing new to write about on this blog.  


How can this be?

Georgia is still playing soccer on two teams and Nutcracker rehearsals have begun.  Henry is playing hockey, still making duct tape items and feeling the stress of endless, middle school homework.  Josie is doing tennis, soccer, Storybook Workshop Drama AND is dancing in the Nutcracker.  From the moment I jump in my car to pick the kids up from school until the moment my head hits my pillow each night, I am moving.  There are carpools to arrange and drive, play dates to schedule and carry out, there are pick ups and drop offs, there is homework to struggle through and school projects to finish....  the time is flying by.

But is any of this blog-worthy?  Or blog-interesting?  I'm not so sure.

I thought of writing a blog post about decorating our house for the Halloween holiday... but then I lost interest in decorating the house when I remembered that said decorations - piddly as they are - were in the attic and therefore, a complete pain to get down.

I've already covered soccer, tennis, hockey and homework.

The ballet teacher does not allow parents in the room during rehearsals....

Argh!  Complete blog-block.

What about me?  You ask?   Surely having 6 hours off each day means ample time to do something, photograph it and present it on the blog?  Well, let's see.  I do pilates twice a week and neither group of ladies has any interest in being photographed or written about.  I grocery shop - not a whole lot of material there.... yesterday, I picked out our family holiday card!  That was fun, but for the sake of surprise, I won't be showing it any time soon.

My trip to Target to find a basket for Georgia's Halloween Costume?  My trip to the post office to mail a present to my Aunt Elsie?  Nah.  Nothing there worth mentioning.

I am officially between a rock and a blogging hard place.  The advent of school work and activities has passed us by and the arrival of the trifecta Halloween/Thanksgiving/Christmas has not yet begun.  I am in a lull.

You will just have to wait.

But be sure to come back soon because, eventually, those Halloween Decorations are going to have to come out of the attic.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Battle of the Weekends

Gordy and I are alike in many ways... but we are different in many ways too.  I like to sit and be sedentary and Gordy firmly believes that if he or any of his offspring stops moving for a minute, he / they will spontaneously combust.

I spent last weekend in Philadelphia for my annual Girls Weekend - otherwise known as Eatapalooza.  While in Philly, Elizabeth and I go to two fabulous restaurants, eat both healthy and junky meals, drink lots of fruity, alcoholic beverages and do a whole lot of this:

Sitting.  And talking.  And watching television while we sit and talk.  While we were relaxing and playing with Dorothy, the Olde English Bulldogge, my family was at home, doing this:

I interrupted my television watching - but not my sitting - to kiss Dorothy...

while at the same time, Gordy and the girls were watching Henry play hockey:

While Elizabeth and I sat and ate a nice, fatty breakfast,

Gordy was helping Josie try out her new hockey outfit and skating with the kids.

Elizabeth and I went for a leisurely shopping trip.  And Gordy drove the children to Cambridge to see the professional lacrosse trophy and meet some of the Boston Cannons.

Have you lost count of all the activities that Gordy and the children did while I was gone?  Are you wondering how one adult could squeeze so many things into one weekend?  Me too.  I got exhausted just hearing about them from the comfort of Elizabeth's couch.  

For your perusal, A Comparison List:

Martha & Elizabeth's "Weekend of Eating, Drinking and Relaxation":

* Went for a light shop
*Played with Dorothy
*Walked Dorothy
*Ate at a fantastic Italian Restaurant
*Slept in
*Walked Dorothy
*Ate breakfast out
*Went for a light shop
*Watched Say Yes To The Dress Marathon
*Went to Budakhan for amazing dinner
*Slept in
*Had breakfast
*Walked Dorothy

Gordy's "Keep On Moving Don't Stop" Weekend:

*Picked up children from school
*Brought them to the ice rink for open skate
*Brought them to Josie's tennis lesson
*Prepared dinner and watched a movie
*Put children to bed
*Took Josie to soccer
*Brought Georgia to carpool which got her to soccer
*Went to Henry's hockey game
*Brought kids to Lacrosse event
*Went out to dinner
*Bed routine
*Woke up early and made waffles - from scratch
*Brought Georgia to 4-game soccer tournament
*Travelled to Rhode Island for Henry's hockey game

Who do you think had a better weekend?  Feeling badly for Gordy?  Don't worry.  He has a Football-palooza later in the year and I will be the parent with the ants in her pants.  Sigh.  That is the thing with weekends away... some times it is your turn and sometimes it is not!

**Editor's note:  I have been asked a few times if my niece, Dorothy is a Pitbull.  The answer is, no.  Dorothy is an Olde English Bulldogge although she has been mistaken for a pitbull on many occasions.

This is a pitbull:

and this is Dorothy, the Olde English Bulldogge:

Close, I suppose, but no cigar.

Monday, October 24, 2011

While The Cat is Away...

... The Mouse teaches their youngest child to play hockey.

I spent the weekend in Philadelphia with Elizabeth and while I was gone, I received the following video:

Josie announced a few weeks ago that she MIGHT want to play hockey and before you could blink, Gordy had signed her up for an Introduction to Hockey class.  Since her "season" doesn't start until next month, Gordy got Josie some pink hockey socks, pink skate laces and pink tape for her hockey stick in hopes that pretty equipment would keep her enthusiastic about playing while she waits.  

On Friday, Gordy took the kids to the ice rink to give Josie a chance to practice.  I'd say she's off to a great start.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Halloween Gingerbread

... because nothing says Halloween quite like a gingerbread house, no?  What?

A couple we invited to our party last weekend, arrived with a Halloween Gingerbread House kit as a hostess gift.  It was, the woman said as she handed it to me, either the best gift in the world (if one likes to do crafty bake-y things with one's children) or the worst gift in the world (if one doesn't!).  

It may have been a risky gift but it was one that paid off.  Our family falls into the first category.  We like doing crafty/bake-y things and even if we didn't, the enclosed packs of frosting and candy would have made up for it.

This week is parent/teacher conference week at our local schools which means three half-days in a row.  Half-days are the bane of stay-at-home-parents.  Sending your child to school for only two hours is a giant tease... you get the kids up on time, bring them to school, get ONE thing done for either the family or for yourself and then it's time to pick the kids back up again.

I have found that it is always a good thing to have some activities planned to use up the long hours between school dismissal and the usual afternoon activities and this Halloween House kit was just the thing.

Georgia, Josie and I opened the box and took out the contents.

We decided that it made the most sense for me to construct the house and the girls to decorate it.

They did help with the "massaging of the frosting" or the "messaging of the frosting" since that's how Georgia read the instructions out loud to us from the back of the box.

While they messaged, I lay out the gingerbread squares the way the directions advised:

The peak of our house had broken off in transit, so I had to "glue" it back on with orange frosting.

It was actually much easier than I would have thought.  

...except the heavy, side roof pieces kept sliding off.  For awhile, we thought if we could just hold them on until the frosting hardened a little, all would be well.

But the frosting never hardened - not even a little.

We decided that maybe some more frosting would do the trick:

and that theory worked for a small amount of time...

The girls began to decorate and I let them have full-use of the frosting bags.

and that's when the roof pieces fell off.

We decided to just leave the fallen roof on the "ground."  It made the house seem scarier if the roof was falling apart.

The candy came out and the some of it made it's way into the mouths of the decorators.

One of our decorators had a suspiciously black-colored mouth when the project was over:

The finished product was pretty spectacular.  Not only was it nice to look at, but it used up the 30 minutes that I needed to put dinner together before I left for Henry's conference.

and that is a perfect gift!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Party Preparations

I didn't collect my usual blog post material this weekend and that is because Gordy and I threw a party, whose preparations consumed most of our time/energy from Friday until Sunday.  Yes, the children played sports and yes, they probably said and did some cute things, but I didn't notice.  I was too busy worrying about the party, setting up for the party and then recovering from the party to notice.

I'm sorry.  I know my children are the only reason most of you read this blog in the first place.

And to make my blogging life even worse, I didn't take photos of the actual party.  I am left with only a few pictures of our preparation and some great stories that my friends and neighbors would be horrified if I shared.  Blog-wise, adult parties are not ideal.

So instead of juicy gossip and photos of adults eating, drinking and being merry, I present to you, The Party Preparations:

Behold, Gordy put up lights:

You can never have too many lights outside, especially if your house number is not illuminated and not every one you have invited to the party knows which house is yours.

We also cleared out furniture and rugs from rooms and put out lots of flowers.  The flowers were perfect for hiding the fact that our end tables still are knick-knack free even two years after we moved into our house.

Josie and I painted our nails:

I chose a dark plum and Josie chose pink on the left and blue on the right.  

She's sassy that way.

I bought 200 cookies and put them on platters:

The caterers arrived and unpacked all those crates in my garage.  We had two bars:  one in the living room and one in the kitchen.  This was the caterer's suggestion, to keep the party flow moving throughout the first floor and it was a good one.  We had about 95 people in the house and flow was pretty important.

The dinner buffet was set up...

And I got all dolled up in my new dress (this photo was actually taken a few days before the party when I was trying to figure out what to wear and I needed to email my sister and friend to get their opinion.  I did shower and do my hair for the party.  I understand that nothing says Soccer Parent more than greasy hair and a ponytail.)

The sun went down and the lights came on.... I put the camera away when the first guests arrived.

It was a great evening and things went smoothly.  The food and drink were great and the company was even better.  It is always fun to spend time with your friends without having to deal with children.  We were exhausted on Sunday.  Going to bed at 2:30 and getting up at 5:30 to get Georgia to a soccer game didn't help.  The house is now clean and the furniture is all back in order.  The rental company picked up the dishes, tables, linens and catering paraphernalia this morning and all I have left to do is get the recyclables to the dump when it reopens tomorrow.  

The party was a success in every category except blogging.  But - never fear - I'm able to focus on the children once again, so I'll be back on the blogging track in no time.  I promise.  
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