Friday, January 30, 2015

An End of The Month Summary


Blogging is (currently) not as easy as it used to be.  Having a puppy in the house is a huge time-suck.  I've resorted to bully-stick-bribes just to sit down in front of my computer for a few minutes.  Luckily for Pippa, I'm not above bribing tiny pug dogs in order to get some me time.

It had been my plan to write a blog post about how fast the month of January went by, but then we were hit by the blizzard and the kids had two snow days in a row followed by a dreaded early-release day and then this morning, it started snowing again and suddenly the month seems to be crawling, slowly and painfully to it's end.  

Bad weather does that to me.  Most people just embrace the slow-motion caused by inclement weather, but even after sixteen years in New England, I still have a hard time being one of those people who finds beauty in three feet of snow.  I am forever trying to get winter to speed up.  Or at very least, keep a brisk pace.

Perhaps it's seasonal disorder, but things seem gloomier around here.  Teenage angst and pre-teen moodiness have reared their ugly heads and the nine year old spent two hours last night stressing over a loose tooth.  The bickering has reached an all-time high and I'm pretty sure that our children have forgotten that they ever got along.

I have a few deadlines hanging ominously over my head.  Both Henry and Georgia are going to camp this summer (separately - see the above paragraph starting with seasonal disorder)  and I have to finish up their applications and medical forms.  Each camp requires about 20 pages of answered questions, medical records and travel documents.  Josie is also going to camp this summer, but it's a day camp whose only requirement was a valid credit card.

I spent an hour on hold with the Post Office this morning, trying to figure out why we haven't gotten mail for three days.  I finally gave up and just called my next-door neighbor to see if she had gotten mail either.  I was worried it was personal.

Things are not all gloom and doom, luckily.  I shopped for our family super bowl party today - we are doing heavy appetizers and dessert.  Yum.  I'm looking forward to a good day of pigging out (and watching football, I guess).

And Meredith sent me the following photo of a young Lily and Avery at the Florida resort we are going to over spring break:



Ahh.  So cute.  And so warm looking!




Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The Blizzard of 2015



Well, we survived the Blizzard of 2015.

It was a long, long day but the electricity remained on and so did our heat, and for that we were extremely grateful.


When it was all said and done, I'd say that we got about 27 inches, but it's hard to get an exact amount since there was so much blowing and drifting.


We didn't go outside until mid-afternoon.  It was hard to move around (as you can imagine) and it was hard to see since the snow and the wind were relentless.


Georgia has been begging for money-making opportunities since she is saving up for a watch, so she offered to help Gordy with the shoveling.  



Gordy mostly used the snow blower to clear the driveway.  It took forever and he had to do the entire length twice, just because the snow didn't stop until around ten o'clock last night.  I shoveled the last two inches of snow off the driveway this morning.  


The highlight of the blizzard for me was sledding down our road - which for all of you who have never been to our house, is an incredibly steep, curvy mountain, which when covered in snow, it's not unlike a luge track.

During normal snow falls, it's not safe to sled on our road since it's a one-lane street and you could easily get hit by a car on it's way up the hill, but blizzard days are perfect for street-sledding.  Massachusetts had a driving ban in effect and the only cars out and about were snowplows which don't often find themselves in our neighborhood.  


Josie and I took two passes down the hill and the second pass was perfect.  We had just the right speed and the track created from our first run enabled us to go all the way down the hill, making every curve.

I'm sorry I didn't get any pictures, because I'm certain the event was Olympic-worthy.



How did the puppy do in the storm?


She spent a lot of time at the top of our mudroom stairs, watching us from this window:


I joined her there after the sledding.  All in all, Pippa Middleton has been fine with the snow.  It's been a little more difficult finding her a place to use the toilet since the snow was twice her height (and then some), but she's been a good sport.  We gave her as much indoor exercise as we could, since outdoor walks were out.

And pugs, by nature, are happiest when sleeping on a lap and a blizzard certainly provides plenty of lap time.



All three kids had snowdays yesterday and today.  I walked into town to take an exercise class this morning, and I was horrified to see that none of the schools or sidewalks had been plowed out yet.  Henry's school will definitely be back in session tomorrow, but who knows about the girls'.  

The sun has been out a few times today, but it's freezing cold and nothing has melted.  We're expecting another snow storm on Friday.  

Thanks for all your nice comments on my last post!  We survived!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Storm Prep


We are preparing for the arrival of a massive blizzard here in Massachusetts.  It wouldn't be winter without at least one Snowmageddon.  

I had a busy day planned today - I had to stock up on food, flashlights and batteries.  I was planning to go to pilates and then head into Boston to have lunch with Gordy and his parents and then my afternoon would be spent taking Josie to hockey practice.

But I forgot about what happens on the day before three feet of snow gets dumped on our town.  

The grocery stores (I had to get to two) had waiting lines to get into the parking lots and people were fighting over carts, supplies and places in the check out line.  Henry's school announced that it was letting the students out two hours early which is problematic when you remember that he takes a van home from school and the driver isn't necessarily able to come two hours early.  It took more than a few emails to determine that someone was getting my son home from school.

I was forced to cancel my trip to Boston, but that ended up being a smart thing considering it took me almost three hours to get all the food we would need if the power goes out and the streets become impassable.

I have all the electronics plugged in and ready to go.  I have a few battery-powered lanterns and flashlights and I even bought some random fire logs in case we are without heat at any point.  

Sigh.

I'm really not a fan of winter.

And I don't think blizzards are cozy.  Maybe I would if we had a generator, but probably not even then.

I'm really looking forward to the spring break Henry and I are taking with Meredith and Avery in March.  I can not wait to feel warm!

I have a few blog posts waiting to be written, so if the power stays on, I will try to get them finished tomorrow (schools are already cancelled).  Please check back.



Thursday, January 22, 2015

Josephine Plays Hockey


Josie has been playing hockey four times a week since September, although you'd never know it from reading my blog.  I've been bad about taking hockey photos of Josie - there's no reason, I just prefer watching the games to photographing them.  This past weekend, though, I brought my camera to her game.

I also brought Josie's friend, Eva.

Hello Eva.


It wasn't the most exciting game.  Josie's team won 3-0 and they played very well.


Last weekend's game was more exciting, so I will tell you about that instead.


Josie plays defense and as a defensive player, there aren't too many chances to score.


But at the end of the game, her team was losing 1-2 and her coach pulled their goalie so they could get more players on the ice.  The coach also told the two defensive players (Josie and another girl) not to bother to defend their own net, but to skate to the opposite team's net and aid the offensive players in tying up the game.


Which is why Josie was in front of the net in the last two seconds of the game and it was why when she was passed the puck, Josie was able to score her first goal of the season, at the literal last second of the game.


It was very, very exciting.  Especially when all her teammates escorted her off the ice, shouting "Josie!  Josie!  Josie!"  


Josie will remember being the hero for a long, long time, I'm sure.


Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Josie's Doctor's Kit


Josie asked for (and received, obviously) a Doctor's Kit for Christmas.  This is no ordinary Doctor's Kit, though - this one is the DELUX Doctor's Kit and after Josie finished setting it up, her room was transformed into a doctor's office.


Josie opened her clinic up for patients on Saturday.

She was ready for all contingencies:  wound care, broken bones and general illness.



She even had stickers to give out to young patients who behaved themselves.



My favorite moment was when Dr. Josephine took a phone call from another doctor who needed advice (her friend Eva who was calling to find out what time we were picking her up that afternoon so she could watch Josie play hockey).


I'll spare you the photos of Gordy getting his examination.  We had a slow start to our morning and he would rather not have the world see what he looks like in his pajamas.

For a long time, Josie wanted to be a doctor when she grew up, but last winter, Henry split open his knee in a hockey game and had to have stitches and Josie went with Henry when he had his stitches removed.  There was blood and some nasty-looking gore and Josie almost fainted in the exam room.  Since then, Josie has been expressing more interest in becoming an interior designer.  We'll see, I suppose.  In the meantime, she's still practicing her non-bloody medical skills.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Pippa's Playdate


We've been working hard to keep Pippa from turning into one of those neurotic, yippy dogs who barks whenever faced with a new situation.  She's great with people who come to our house and she was great with my sister's dog, Dorothy at Christmas time, but we realize that she needs to be further socialized with other dogs.  The problem is that our town doesn't have a dog park - and even if it did, January in Massachusetts is way too cold for a young puppy to spend extended time outside.  

Luckily for us, we have a few friends with puppies or small dogs, so we're hoping to have a series of Puppy Playdates in our basement to get Pippa accustomed to the company of other dogs.  Josie's friend Eva and her French Bulldog, Maurice were our first invitees.


Pippa Loved Maurice.  And Maurice seemed to love Pippa.  Within seconds, the dogs were zooming around our basement, playing with toys and chasing each other.


Maurice was a great choice for a first playdate, since he was gentle but enthusiastic and he was up for a good run.


We didn't catch them doing it, but I'm sure that Pippa Middleton and Maurice exchanged cell phone numbers and are now following each other on instagram.




Wednesday, January 14, 2015

My Latest Hobby


I have a new hobby.

This past fall, I took a sewing class and while the class itself left a lot to be desired, I fell in love with the sewing.  So far, I've only made pillows but because of the invisible zipper, pillows are harder than they seem.


After my class was over, I bought a sewing machine and I set aside each Thursday morning for practice.

I got fairly good at putting in invisible zippers (the tricky part is making sure that they stay invisible) but   I still had problems and questions, so I did some internet research and found out that all this time there was something called an Invisible Zipper Foot I could have been using.

I know it's always a good thing to learn how to do things without using tricks and shortcuts, but in this case -- SHORTCUT HERE I COME!

I bought that zipper foot as fast as Amazon Prime would let me.



Life  is so much easier with that Invisible Zipper Foot.

And I am really enjoying the sewing.  I've been busy pinning ideas for more creative pillows on my pinterest board, but there are still some more things I want to learn before I start creating any original design.  For instance, I want to learn how to make and attach piping and I'm interested in working with trims and tassles.  


Before Christmas, I was moving along at a fast clip, but the arrival of the puppy has slowed things down for me.  

Yesterday was the first day I took out my sewing things since December.  Pippa Middleton was asleep in her bed for the first hour and a half.  I cut out my pattern I ironed, I pinned and I sewed the first zipper pass... and then she woke up from her morning nap.  

And then the view from my work area changed:


It's not so easy to sew with a pug on your lap.  





Monday, January 12, 2015

What We've Been Up To Lately


Things have been slow around here - well, blog-slow, that is.  We're as busy as ever.  This past weekend was Gordy's annual Football Playoff Weekend with his friends.  They went to Milwaukee this year and watched a Packer's Game.  And while Gordy was gone, we did fun things like go to hockey games, work on Freshman English papers, the girls and I went to see the movie "Annie" (we liked it!) and we played with Pippa Middleton.


Georgia and Josie also did a lot of practicing.


But we did our share of relaxing.


And xbox playing.


There was also much interaction with Pippa Middleton, who seems to need a whole lot of exercise - indoors, since it was in the teens and single digits all weekend.

Pippa didn't seem to mind being cooped up in doors.  There were lots of pug kisses to go around.  


Can you tell that we are all loving our puppy?


Having a puppy is just as much work as I remember it being, but it is so much easier this time around.  Gordy and I are older, so there's that.  And we've raised dogs before AND more importantly, we've taken care of babies and children now and so caring for a dog seems fairly simple, in comparison.

We've also been very impressed with how much the children have been helping.  I've yet to hear anyone complain about having to play with Pippa, or having to take her out frequently.  It's been a complete joy.


Pippa is doing well with the house training - she's not perfect yet and she doesn't have the full run of the house, but she's doing well.  We tried to introduce her to a puppy friend, but sadly the play date fell through.  


I've been posting frequently on Instagram, so be sure to stop by there (click on the camera link to the right) for more frequent updates.  


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