Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Gang Rides Again


I am determined to spend more time out of my car this summer.  A few years ago, I made a similar concerted effort to shun the motor and I remember the time fondly.  We rode our bikes to the pool, we rode our bikes to the library... it was a throw-back summer and it was great.

And then we moved and our new house is slightly further away and at the top of a long, steep hill.  Last summer, the few times I suggested that we ride our bikes to the pool were met with loud groans and heated words.  Everyone agreed that the way to the pool would be a lovely ride... but the journey home would be pure torture.

But this summer, I am determined to get back on the bike saddle.  Henry and I got new bicycles, Georgia got Henry's old bike and Josie got her bike refurbished.  We are helmeted and ready to go.


The girls and Gordy took the inaugral bike trip to the pool on Memorial Day.


Josie did a warm up on the driveway.  She loves to ride a bike.


Gordy pumped up tires and shouldered the beach-towel-filled backpack.


I won't be so nice when I ride to the pool with the children.


... but right now THEIR backpacks are filled with school supplies and books.  We have another full month of school before freedom begins.


I watched the Tour de New England amble down our driveway and onto the first hill:


I hope it's the beginning of an exercise-filled summer.


Monday, May 27, 2013

Owen!


I just came back from a weekend with the cutest 9 month old ever - two days and two nights of pure unadulterated baby fix.  

Isn't my nephew adorable?


Yes.  Yes, he is.

In years past, we've called my weekend with Elizabeth "eat-a-po-looza" since we centered our activities around dining at fine restaurants and consuming fancy drinks.  

Since Owen arrived, the weekend has turned into "baby-pa-looza"and we spend our hours watching Owen be his marvelous self.


I wouldn't go back to the old way for anything.

What's better than a weekend spent holding this muffin?


Or talking walks with this dapper dude:



We did still get a little fine dining in:


The stewed peaches at this "restaurant" were divine.

We also enjoyed some literary culture:


It was a wonderful weekend.


I only wish my sister and her family lived closer.  See you this summer, Owen!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Josie's Country of Origin Project


Our third and final second grader finished our third and final her Country of Origin Project.  There was much rejoicing.  Josie chose to study her ancestral country of Norway - completely disregarding our pleas to chose another ancestral country, Granny's Scotland, perhaps, or Grandma's Poland.  

Nope.  Josie chose Norway - just as Henry and Georgia did before her.  

If only Scotland or Poland had Christmas pastries to entice her!

Josie worked very hard on her project, which took about a week to complete.  

She started by researching the country and choosing ten pictures which illustrated interesting facts and locations.  I remember when Henry and Georgia did their projects - they chose historical landmarks and  viking adventures... Josie had a much more Josie-centric view of Norway.


She included the capital Oslo, but only because she "liked the sound of the name."


She also included the Norwegian Royal Family (highlighting the Crown Prince family with that hotty Haakon and the ever wonderful Mette-Marit.  

Along with the photos, Josie had to write three facts on the back.  For the Royal Family, Josie wrote:

"1.  The King of Norway is named Harald.
2.  This picture is so Harald's son, Haakon and his family.
3.  The little girl is going to be Queen someday.  Her name is Ingrid and she is nine."


My favorite photo was the following:


but only because Josie's explanation on the back was so funny:


ha!  Got to love a grand generalization!

Haakon and Mette-Marit... trolls... what else did Josie choose?

Christmas cookies, that's what.

Josie's next photo was of Krumkake cooling on a wire rack:


and then she included a photo of Kransikake (Norwegian wedding cake)


Because she had to choose ten photos, Josie did, begrudgingly, include a photo of the fjords, Kjeragbolten and a Stave Church, but she wasn't particularly excited by the non-princess, non-food related items.

I had Josie space her project out over a few days.  She chose the photos and wrote the rough draft on one day and then cut and pasted the pictures on another.



On the third day, Josie arranged her photos in alphabetical order (or in ABC order, as they call it nowadays):


On the last day, Josie drew the cover and the back cover.



I ordered Norwegian Flag ribbon and helped Josie punch the holes and bind her book.  I think it turned out well:


The entire project is due on Friday, and I tried to get Josie to go to school wearing the Norwegian outfit my grandmother Ruth made for me during my OWN Country of Origin project in elementary school.  It's probably too big - I think I was in either fifth or sixth grade when I wore it - but the vest and the hat would fit Josie.  She's not interested in dressing up in national dress, sadly.  Maybe I could convince her another year.  My niece, Avery, wore it a few years ago to a school function and a little cousin peer-presure goes a long way.

The end of this project marks the end of an era.  My last second grader is finishing up second grade.  I'm not sad, there will be plenty to keep us busy in third grade, but it does feel a little strange.  Besides, if we had had a fourth child, I'm sure he/she would have chosen Norway as their subject anyway.  

The pull of those krumkakes is just too strong.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

How We Spent The Kids College Fund

No - this isn't a post about some fabulous trip Gordy and I took to Aruba... I'm referring to orthodonture.

Orthodontics -- you know -- the bane of teen and pre-teens everywhere.


I took all three children to the orthodontist over spring break on the recommendation of our dentist  (whooo!  Who needs Daytona beach when there are orthodontists to visit, am I right?).  3-D x-rays and digital photos from every angle were taken and then the orthodontist led me over to her office and gave me the bad news:  my children have hideously gnarly teeth.

Georgia is missing two adult teeth and two of her baby teeth are being reabsorbed into her gums.  She also had two baby teeth whose adult teeth weren't pushing them out, dooming her mouth to years of additional difficulties.

Henry is only missing one adult tooth but that's not his only problem.   One of Henry's teeth is stuck in his upper jaw, pointing in the wrong direction.  There's also great over-crowding and general mayhem.  

Josie's teeth are completely misaligned and her jaw is doing odd gymnastic moves to try to remedy the situation.

The situation did not look good on the computer monitor.  

My children have Austin Powers' teeth and considering that this isn't England circa 1965, we decided to fight the many problems head on.

That meant two rounds of teeth pulling for Georgia (see above photo) and palate expanders for Henry and Josie.  For now, I mean.  Henry also got braces on his lower teeth, but full braces are in his future, as well as surgery to release that wonky tooth.  Georgia and Josie will also get braces (or "train tracks" as Henry calls them) in the future.  

I hope they appreciate their straight teeth when they are signing for their college loans!


Josie has had her palate expander on for 12 days.  I know this, because every morning after she's eaten breakfast and brushed her teeth, it's my job to stick a key into that tiny hole in the middle of the apparatus and turn the brace one small rotation.  


Which is just as horrific and disgusting as it sounds.  I almost lost my breakfast the first morning I did it.  

I know that we're making room so her jaw is aligned correctly, but it does distress me that Josie is now sporting a sizeable gap between her two front teeth.


By the end of the month, will she look like Madonna?

As for Henry, he wasn't all that thrilled about showing his teeth to the internet.  This was the best I could get from him:


Choo-Choo!

I never had braces when I was growing up - neither did Gordy.  Who knew that getting straight teeth was such a complicated process?  I figured on the inevitable arrival of soft foods, applesauce and puddings in the pantry, but I was completely oblivious to amount of hardware such a little mouth could hold.  

It will be worth it... right?



Sunday, May 19, 2013

Ladies Who Lunch


A few weeks ago, my friend Larisa made the valiant attempt to get a group of families together for dinner.  In the olden days - before the children got older and started playing sports - getting a few families together to socialize required little effort.  One could pick any weekend night and the party made itself.  Now getting more than two families together is like finishing the Sunday Sudoku:  you think you have a solution that works for everyone and then it implodes in your face.  

After reading at least six group texts and watching the chaos begin, I suggested that we ditch the kids and the husbands and just have a ladies lunch.  

Kathy volunteered to host at her house and the rest of us offered to bring various things... 

it was simple and hassle-free.

And since one of the "ladies" finishes preschool before noon, we were a happy party of five:


When I arrived (first, as always), Lauren informed me that "more ladies" would be coming to eat with "her."  She was so excited to be included.  Two and a half is such a fabulous age.

Kathy had decorated the table with flowers from her garden:


And Larisa decorated the table with a lovely sour-cherry prosecco cocktail (which was delicious):


No children (Lauren was an honorary lady for the day, so I'm not counting her), no rushing off to sporting events, no carpools... lunch time get-togethers are fabulous!  Why hadn't we thought of these before?


We did hit one snafu.  Kathy realized that the chicken wasn't cooking, but luckily Larisa knew how to change the propane tank on the grill.


I did overhear her muttering "righty-tighty, lefty-loosey" to herself before she began, but still, I was impressed by her grill knowledge.  I'm not the griller in my family, can you tell?

I brought my camera to record the occasion.  When I'm old and gray, I want to remember that I did have a life apart from my children and their sporting careers.


Although, I apologize for the over-exposure caused by my winter-white skin and my hair.


Flashes are not pale-person's friend.


When the four of us get together, there's a ton of laughter and zero pauses in conversation.


It was so fun to catch up after a winter apart.

But don't worry about Lauren:


She's an experienced talker and got plenty of words in!


Our winter is always so busy, there isn't enough time to spend with friends.  I really cherish the summer when people have less going on and we can all sit by the pool and chat away.  

Until then, here's to the Ladies Who Lunch:


Yeah!

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