Thursday, October 29, 2015

Josie Tries Something New


Josie is starting a new instrument - the guitar!  


Cello lessons weren't going the way we had hoped they would.  Josie spent most of the last year learning one five-line piece called Polka Dots.  Each week she'd practice her piece and each week, she'd have it reassigned.  After the third month, Josie was going out of her mind but perhaps not as much as Gordy and I were.  

In fact, if I EVER hear the song Polka Dots again, I can't guarantee that I'll be able to stop myself from screaming.

We thought about finding a new cello teacher but after the Polka Dots fiasco, Josie wasn't feeling particularly kind towards the cello in general.

I really want my children to play instruments, though, and I wasn't going to give up.  I asked Josie to pick another instrument and she chose the guitar.

Starting next week, Josie will be taking lessons from a friend of a friend.  The whole thing happened very quickly and easily.  I asked my friend Britt who is a singer/songwriter to recommend a teacher, she gave me the name of a good friend / colleague.  He has a free spot and can come to our house (HUGE bonus!) and he can start right away (before Josie's interest wanes).  It's all perfect.

We ended up buying a small guitar for Josie to use.  Buying a guitar cost less than renting the cello for the year, so it seemed like a smart thing.

Every day since we bought the guitar, Josie has taken it out of it's case and given it a try.

And even Gordy has been enjoying it  - here he is channeling some of his long-forgotten guitar skills learned at hippy school in the seventies: 




I'm excited for Josie and excited that she is excited.  I'll be sure to keep you all updated once the lessons begin.  

It's been a fun week for Josie.  I'll write more later, but here's a sneak peak:


Happy Hockey Halloween!  

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Islander Hockey


Josie's team played at Providence College (Rhode Island) last weekend and I brought along my camera assuming that a big college ice rink will be cleaner and brighter than depressing, dirty Hockeytown where they usually play their games.  

How do I adequately describe that Massachusetts institution known as Hockeytown?  Picture a garbage dump and a toxic waste dump only put a rink in the middle and then use it (without cleaning it) for thirty years.  


Yep.  It's that bad.

And it's Josie's team's home rink!  Lucky girls!

I don't bring my camera to Hockeytown very often.


This was a fun game.  The girls really enjoyed using the big, bright college locker rooms and the parents liked sitting on benches that weren't covered in slime.


The Islanders played a good game.  They were ahead for awhile, then the other team tied the game up before Josie's team got two last-minute goals to win the match.




It made the two hour drive worth it :)



Monday, October 26, 2015

Braces and Bees : Back Again




Last week wasn't the best.  Georgia got her bottom braces put on and a palate expander attached to the roof of her mouth.  It hurt, it still hurts and there is nothing grosser than a palate expander.  Anyone could tell you that.

Georgia refused to pose for a photos to show you all.  

Sorry.


And remember those bees I told you about last week?  The bee man finally got over to our house and after two hours of searching, he located the enormous, basketball-sized yellow-jacket nest in the floorboards above Henry's bedroom.



It took another full hour for the man to remove them..

... and while he was removing said nest, a large hunk of Henry's ceiling collapsed, raining bee nest, live yellow jackets and bee larvae all over his room.

It was definitely as gross and horrifying as it sounds.

I didn't get any photos of the bees, either.

And then to add insult to injury, Henry did not get his braces removed during his orthodontist appointment - even though we had thought that was why we were there in the first place.  

Henry has another month to go, which in teenager time is like 7 seven years.

Once again, no photos.  

Blogging with teenagers is not the photo opportunity that you'd have thought.

But lucky for me, I still have one child who is not yet a teenager and still willingly allows me to photograph her:


Ah.  


Monday, October 19, 2015

Catching Up


I've been taking more photos with my iphone than my larger camera.  I think it's just laziness but it also could be that carrying around my large camera is a pain (which now that I think of it, is just another form of laziness).

The phone camera is pretty convenient, it's true.


Henry and I went to a Lightning / Bruins game and Henry - very bravely - wore a Tampa Bay tshirt.  We went early to watch the warm ups which was really fun.  

It was Pippa Middleton's first birthday on October 13th.  We didn't do too much to celebrate, but Josie made this cute birthday hat and we all posted photos to instagram:


I was searching for something in an old box of papers/photos and I found this school photo of Henry when he was three:


OMG.  So cute, right?  It's been so long since I've seen Henry's hair!

It's been even longer since I've seen Henry's teeth but that should change really soon.  He is supposed to get his braces off on Thursday but we've learned not to get our hopes up when it comes to the orthodontist.

It was FREEZING here over the weekend, but Josie and I were determined to get our pumpkin shopping done.  We went to the local garden store and before we chose the perfect pumpkin, Josie went through the "haunted" maze.






I went through the maze, too, but I only lasted about two minutes.  It was boring and I was way too cold to deal with a maze.



This photo stream is no longer in order, but check out the preppy, gigantic fisherman's bracelets some one tied on a telephone pole on Block Island:


pretty impressive, no?

And last but not least, I finished Pippa Middleton's Halloween costume this morning.  Check out our little flower:


She hates it, naturally, but I think she looks adorable.

She and Josie are wearing a couple costume.  Pippa is the flower and Josephine is the bee:


This is a sneak preview of Josie's costume which is going to look even better when I sew the yellow stripes onto her leotard.  


It's going to be perfect.  What's coming up:  Hockey, hockey and more hockey.  Henry has three (potentially four) games in a row!  I have my first fifth grade library duty this week (bring on the hand-cleaner!), we're up for two legs of the soccer carpool (whoo!) It's 5th grade parent/teacher conferences, Georgia is getting her braces on and Henry is getting his off, the bee guy is coming to the house to finally exterminate the bees...




Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Block Island Over Columbus Day Weekend


We had to go to Block Island over Columbus Day Weekend to close up the house.  I know - we HAD to go.  Boo hoo, so sad for us.  :)

It was the most gorgeous weekend.  The sun was shining continually the entire time.  The temperatures were cool but not too cool and the winds were barely existent.  

We spent the first morning removing screens from the windows and because we did it assembly-line style, the chore went quickly and we were done by the afternoon.  Gordy and Henry removed the screens and brought them to me.  I marked each one with a sharpie so we can put them back up next spring without too much hassle.  Then I brought the screens to Josie who washed them and put them out to dry in the sun until Gordy and Henry brought them back into the house and placed them in a closet under dust covers.  What did Georgia do, you ask?  She was on Pippa Middleton duty, which was probably the most exhausting task of the day.


When we were on the ferry, coming to the island, we saw a shipwreck on Mansion Beach and we all wanted to explore it, so after lunch we drove up to the beach and hiked to the wreck.






Have I mentioned how gorgeous it was on Saturday?


The shipwreck was further up the beach than we had realized, but the weather was so wonderful, no one minded a long walk (particularly Pippa Middleton who LOVES a long walk especially if it is on a beach).


The boat was perched upright on the rocks and the entire left side was torn open.  I have no idea what had happened to it, but if I had to guess, I'd say the boat was ripped from it's mooring during Hurricane Joaquin and drifted up to Block Island where the high waters dropped it onto Mansion Beach.


If someone from Port Washington is missing your boat, we found it.  It's on Block Island.  You might want to come and get it because it's currently being used as a pretty amazing jungle gym and my children climbed ALL over it.







The storm really changed Mansion Beach.  It's usual large, soft, sandy beach was covered with large rocks so that it looked more like the coast of Maine than it usually does.  Hopefully another storm will take all the rocks away before next summer.

The beach near our house was more sandy than usual:


and the rock that Josie is jumping off above is usually complete  out of the sand.  If Josie had jumped from this rock before the storm, she would have dropped about four feet to the ground.  Now there is only a three inch jump, so that gives you an idea of how much additional sand is on the beach.  

Our house is not heated - it's a 100+ year old summer cottage - and it gets really cold in the fall (and obviously it's not habitable in the winter).  In order to shut down the house, we have to remove the screens, cover the furniture, put away all the linens, get the plumber to drain the pipes and do a deep clean to discourage the critters.   

It's totally worth the work.  We won't get back to the island until next spring, so we made the most of our weekend.  We went out to dinner, visited the candy store, had lunch on the front porch and went for walks on the beach.  

Good-bye, Block Island.  See you soon!

Friday, October 9, 2015

Bees, Mice and Buggies - Oh My!


I had to call this gentleman today.

Dale from Bee Busters is going to make a repeat appearance at our house next week and that is because we suddenly find ourselves overrun with bees (again).


It started with a few rather dead-looking bees scattered here and there around our house.  We thought nothing of it.  And then we started seeing multiple yellow and black insects.  Most of them were sleepy little buggers but a few were buzzing, angry interlopers and whether mild mannered or cranky, not one had been invited into our house and we wanted them gone.

We went up to attic to bring down the Halloween decorations and that's when we discovered the hive.  Well, we're assuming there's a hive.  No one wanted to get close enough to the hundreds of buzzing yellow jackets to get a good look at their claim shanty.

If they stayed quietly in the attic, we might be willing to let the bees hang out for the winter, but they keep violating our border agreement, and last night, a particularly jerky yellow jacket stung Josie on her foot.

Which is just rude.

But the bees aren't our only wildlife issue.  

I have some horrific news to report:  Nature is taking over our house.

And you all know how much I dislike nature.

Case in point:  for the last month, Henry has been hearing the pitter patter of tiny mouse feet running through his walls and ceiling.  Mice, people!  Running amok in my house!

And then this morning, Henry and I turned on the lights in our mudroom and interrupted the thousand-leg march of a centipede across the cold tiles.

Now everyone knows that I am scared of three things:  bees, clowns and balloons.  Centipedes don't really bother me, although I'd prefer them to live outside my home rather than inside.  But I'm not the only person in my house with specific fears - Henry, for example, is scared of two things:  Tsunamis and - you guess it! - centipedes!  

(for the record, Gordy is scared of being left in the open ocean a la the movie Open Water;  Georgia is scared of all parasites but particularly leeches and ticks and Josie is scared of sharks and bees and being too far away from her Mommy.)

But back to the centipedes...  

Henry has to be at his van at 6:40 am and from approximately 6:20-6:35, I stand in the mudroom, begging, pleading and shouting at Henry to HURRY UP.  I'm convinced that there is no slower creature than a 15 year old boy leaving for high school.  Getting Henry out the door each morning is a very stressful part of my day.  

This morning was a completely different story.  We switched on the light and saw the centipede, and while I watched in revulsion as the centipede slithered across the floor and hid under a shoe, Henry was in full panic mode.  Within 10 seconds, he had grabbed his coat, his backpack AND his shoes and had high-tailed it out the door and into the car.  I barely had time to blink.  It was amazing.

I'm thinking about finding the centipede and asking it to help me with our morning routine every day.  It was a blissful, scream-free morning.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Another Week Passes..

without me updating my blog.


I wish I could say that I was on Block Island relaxing in the sun.  I keep opening this photo on my phone of Pippa Middleton watching boats go by (or as we like to call it "watching Nature TV) and wishing that it was still summertime.

I haven't taken very many photos lately.  

Josie got her hair cut last week - she now has a cute chin-length bob:


She had a small crisis about the haircut the day after she had it cut off, when her hair kept falling into her eyes while she did her school work, but we spent some time experimenting with braids and ponytails and now Josie's feeling happier again.


Josie also went to a disco-themed birthday last weekend and she wore the above outfit (including a pair of sequined shorts that we bought her about three years ago).

We had a busy weekend because in addition to the usual sports and homework, Georgia had a sleepover to go to, Josie had that Disco party and Henry's school had their fall weekend which consisted of a lot of sports games and then a high school dance.  And then there were the flu shots that we got for everyone but Henry (he'll get his during his next allergy shot appointments).  

Things coming up:  lots of orthodontist visits, a trip to the dentist, I'm having lunch with some friends this week and then dinner with another friend, the girls have an early -release day coming up, Georgia is going to try the Yearbook Club, our middle school Open House is this week and Georgia has a surprise party to go to and we're going to Block Island for a day to take down the screens, cover the furniture and close up the house for the season.  

And Josie and I are working on her Halloween Costume (hint:  she and Pippa are both dressing up) and  it's Pippa Middleton's first birthday on October 13th and I'm sure we'll have some sort of family dinner to celebrate :)



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