Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving

After two hours, I have finally defrosted enough to blog.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

We went to our town's annual high school football game this morning and it was FREEEZING.

We bundled up and brought a blanket, but it wasn't enough.

The wind could not be stopped.

Which was a shame, because the game was actually pretty good.  Our team never wins and yet by half-time, they had managed to even up the score.  

And if you think that's amazing (and you will, if you live in our town) check this out:

I got a photo (albeit blurry) of the elusive teenager in his outside habitat.

It's amazing, I know.

The kids and I stayed until half-time and then we left. 

I couldn't feel my feet, my hands felt like blocks of wood and I was shivering uncontrollably.

The children weren't much warmer.

The woman sitting behind me must have thought we were out-of-staters because at one point she told me that "in New England, you learn to bring multiple blankets."  

Which I already knew, thank you very much.

I may not be a true New Englander but I've lived here long enough to know the basics.

Gordy stayed behind and watched the entire game..... and here's the real kicker:  Our town WON!  In overtime, no less.  I've probably been to watch our high school football team a handful times, but they never win.  I'm slightly disappointed that I missed the victory celebration at the end.  

Oh well.

Next time, I'll bring more blankets and wear more layers and the team will probably lose.

I hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving.  We're celebrating with a late dinner this year and one that is turkey-free.  I'll share photos with you all later.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Downton Elliot

Last night I didn't feel like having a typical Monday night dinner in the kitchen, so I channeled my inner-Downton Abbey instead.

I got out my grandmother's china and decided that we would drink from the fancy crystal in our dining room:

And since our dishes and location were feeling fancy, I decided that the girls and I should be too.  And that is why, when they were called to dinner, the girls were told to go upstairs and "Dress For Dinner."  

I would have banged a gong like Carson the Butler does at Downton Abbey, but we have no gong .... or a butler.

It was a small dinner party - only Lady Elliot, Miss Elliot and Miss Josephine attended.

Lord Elliot and Viscount Elliot were at a Bruins game.

Ours was a terrifically fancy dinner.  There was much clinking of glasses:

And the footmen served dinner in courses, like they do in elegant country houses:

Conversation revolved around the day's activities and upcoming holidays.

Miss Josephine enjoyed her fancy Macaroni and Cheese:

And then, as we have no spinnet, she provided us with an entertaining dance instead.

Dinner at Downton Elliot was quite enjoyable.

We hope you'll join us for dinner soon.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Checking In With Josie

I suppose this is now a series.  I checked in with Georgia and then I checked in with Henry - both of those reports dealt mostly with doctor's appointments and broken limbs.  I hadn't really meant to "check in" with Josie as well, especially since she has so far managed to stay away from the orthopedic department of our hospital (please don't let this jinx me!) but today, I found myself sitting in front of my blog with all the time in the world and yet without a real subject matter on which to write.  

We have been plenty busy, but not blog busy..... so "Check In With Josie" we will!

Josie has had a great fall.

She's still playing on her all-boy, Mite B hockey team - and holding her own, I would add.

She makes her presence known.  She's looking forward to her two Christmas tournaments.

We just got back from watching her team play at the coldest ice rink in that state (they lost, sadly, but played well).  She plays all positions except goalie although she would tell you that she likes playing defense the best.  

Josie also played on her town soccer team.  

She made her presence known there, too.  

Yes, there might have been a healthy amount of skipping instead of running, but she mades some good plays, scored a few goals and loved playing on a team with other girls.  After losing five games in a row, her team made an impressive come-back and won the next five or six games and then tied a game.  

Or something to that effect - the season seemed pretty quick (compared to hockey).

Josie is still playing the cello, although "playing" does not properly describe the action or the noise.  Screeching, perhaps?  Murdering?  Those words seem more appropriate.  If you find yourself within earshot of our house during practice time, you may want to invest in a pair of earplugs.

No offense, Josie.

Josie is also proud to report that she read an entire chapter book from start to finish (she's accomplished this feat before but this might have been the first time she read the whole book because she ENJOYED it rather than because her mother made her).  The book was Tales of A Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume and it was a huge hit.  She liked it so much that she agreed to try reading Otherwise Known As Sheila The Great, but so far that one hasn't caught her attention.  

Third grade has been great.  Josie goes to school without complaint.  She seems to understand her homework sheets and she's willing to practice her math facts after dinner.  Gordy and I would compliment ourselves on our great parenting skills but the first two children proved that they are the rule and Josie is the exception.  

No offense, Henry and Georgia.

Josie is most looking forward to Christmas.  We don't have an advent calendar up yet, but Josie is unofficially counting down the days anyway.  She is half-way finished with her Christmas shopping and she has already picked out her dress.  She's probably better organized than I am.  

Let's have Thanksgiving first, though, Josie.  

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Guilt Trips

See this adorable face?

It's the face of an 8 year old who has gladly accepted her mother's guilt-induced invitation to travel to a new playground after school.  Why guilt-induced, you ask?


I had a bad, bad parenting morning and even 8 hours later, when I picked Josie up from school, I was still feeling terrible about it.

It all started with an early morning alarm and a quickly forming terrible mood.

My newspaper wasn't on my front porch this morning.

And Henry took a long time to wake up and get out the door.

And then I had my guest bed to make (my in laws are arriving today - HELLO!) and the girls to wake up and feed, and the daily laundry to put away....

And just when the day was looking up and it was time to leave for our walk to school, I realized that at some point last night, I left the kitchen and went to bed without making the school lunches.

And I NEVER forget to make the lunches.

And that's when the day went seriously downhill.  I asked the girls to help assemble the lunches...  no FIRST I asked Josie to get off the computer (on which she was illegally watching Rainbow Loom bracelet tutorials) and she ignored me, and then I asked Georgia to help me make up the snack bags and she (conveniently) remembered that she hadn't brushed her teeth.  And then I yelled at Josie to get off the darn computer and get into the kitchen and help me!  And then I yelled at Georgia to hurry up!  All while I was assembling the worst lunch ever brought to school and getting angrier and angrier by the minute.

I guess I'm not good at dealing with hiccups to my morning routine.

And that's when I started getting preachy (I tend to lecture when I get frantic).  

.... which led to Angry Words.  Which led to tears, abrupt departures from the car (we were too late to walk) and me driving off in an indignant huff.

Obviously, I wasn't proud of my behavior.  I hate the thought that my children are away from me feeling sad and I did feel rather foolish that I allowed myself to get so worked up over something so trivial.  

I spent most of the day thinking about how I could make it up to them --- while I was running errands and doing things around the house.  I don't want you to get the impression that I spent the day on my moping on my sofa.  

Georgia had a playdate scheduled at a friend's house after school, but we hadn't been able to find a free friend for Josie.  I decided that a field trip was in order - a Guilt Trip, if you will.  And I decided that the one place Josie would love to explore was a brand new play ground that just opened up in a neighboring town - one that we pass every time we pick Henry up from school.  This play ground has everything - a climbing castle, twisty poles, ladders, swings, slides, see-saws and even a zip line.

It was quick, easy and the perfect place to say I was sorry.

And luckily for me, Josie accepted my apologies.

We had a grand time.  

So grand, that Josie is probably hoping that I forget to make the lunches and pitch a hissy fit again tomorrow!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Checking In With Henry

It's been three weeks since Henry broke his finger - and two weeks since he got his splint from the orthopedic surgeon.  Henry has become an expert in typing with one immobile digit and people have gotten over the shock of seeing Henry walking around, looking as if he is perpetually flipping the bird. 

For the most part, the splint has allowed Henry the freedom to do most daily activities while his finger heals.... and by that I mean most AVERAGE daily activities:  homework, school work, tooth brushing, dressing, eating.  You get the point.  

But the one thing Henry could not do with his splint was the one thing Henry enjoys doing more than anything else (and I don't mean arguing with his sister, that he did just fine broken finger or not).  For three weeks, Henry has not played a single minute of hockey.

It's shocking, I know.  And it's been killing him. 

Yesterday, we went back to the doctor's and Henry had another set of x-rays taken.  His break is healing nicely - so nicely that the doctor has given him permission to remove the splint and instead wear a nifty pair of velcro bandages.

And what's more, Henry has been given permission to resume hockey - provided that he keep his fingers velcro-ed together and is really careful.

The surgeon - who has hockey paraphernalia all over his exam-room walls - is obviously a fan of the sport and I'd wager that he's a hockey player himself.  Along with permission, he gave Henry and I rather complex instructions on how to doctor an old hockey glove to allow for two fingers to be held together during a game.

Last night, Gordy got to work, cutting out finger netting and separating the holes.

The finished product didn't even look altered:

What a relief!

And to prove that life really is back to normal, Henry refused to pose in his new hockey glove and threatened legal action if his face appeared on this blog (he was joking).

Broken bones aside, it's been a good fall for Henry.  He really likes his new school (I'd say love but what 13 year old really "loves" school?) and he's made some good friends.  We've settled into the routine of picking him up some days and having him take the train on others.  He even walks to Gordy's office on occasion, where he takes advantage of corporate wifi to do his homework, before bumming a ride home.  

If you see Henry, ask him to tell you about some of the people he's encountered on the subway - he's seen all sorts on that metro.  Dinner conversations are lively on Henry's train days.  

You might also ask him about his favorite class, marine biology.  He's been completely enthralled with the subject and he's done a few very interesting projects including a 3-D model of some beached whales.

We are all eager for Henry to get back to hockey.  Going without regular exercise has left Henry feeling a little hyper and a tad bored, but that will all change tonight with back to back practices!  

And we're off!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Josie's Last Soccer Game of the Season

Josie played her last fall soccer game of the season in our town's annual "Veteran's Day Tournament" (which is neither played on Veteran's Day nor during Veteran's Day weekend, go figure).  Her team's coach made up special Team Azzurri jerseys for the occasion which included a picture of the Team Mascot, the coach's french bulldog, Maurice.

I can not begin to tell you how much the girls loved their Maurice Jerseys.

Josie's soccer team has come a long way.  They have improved their passing, kicking, dribbling and ball-handling skills.

And they really gelled as a team.

I've been proud of how Josie has played.  She went from a kindergartener who quit Sandlot Soccer because there was "too much running" to a Travel Team player who ran quite comfortably and with vigor for most of each game.

The team still has a little work to do in the spring.  As the following photo will demonstrate, they still have a habit of running in clumps:

I guess they believe that five players are better than one.  (But sadly, I think that the opposing player took possession of the ball right after that photo was snapped!  Whoops!)

Josie loved her team - she especially loved the chance to play with her good friend, Eva (who is the coach's daughter and therefore the big sister of the great Maurice).

And she loved having her good friend Dorothy on her team (if only until practices and games interfered with Miss Dorothy's Irish Step Dancing... we missed you, Dorothy, but we TOTALLY understood!).

And of course, EVERYONE loved playing soccer for the rapt audience of Maurice, the French Bulldog:

We have a short break from soccer for now, but soon Josie is going to try Club soccer for the winter training season and of course, she is still playing hockey.

I don't want to give the impression that she is lying on the sofa, eating bon-bons.

Although, she'd certainly like to.  All these sporting events are getting in the way of her catching up on Cupcake Wars and Honey Boo Boo.

Come spring, the Azzurris will be back in together and ready to play!

See you then, Maurice!

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