Monday, December 19, 2016

Christmas Prep

Look at this everyone.  See those frozen casseroles?  That's Friday's dinner.

Whoop whoop!

I'm prepared people!

Josie (and Henry) are on vacation this week, so I enlisted Josie's help to make dinner for tonight and then put together two lasagnas for Friday.  We're hosting Christmas at our house and everyone but my parents arrive on Friday. 

I'm not the best cook in the world, so when hosting multiple dinners, I usually stick to dishes that I can make ahead of time and which are mostly fool proof.

Because I am definitely a fool when it comes to cooking.

We started off making a spinach, potato, egg casserole for dinner tonight.  Josie has hockey practice, so it helps to have something easy that one of the teenagers can stick in the oven at the last minute, so we don't have to wait too long to eat once we all get home.

I make a lot of casseroles.

Next up was the two lasagnas - one with ricotta cheese and one without for those of us with ricotta-free stomachs.

Both lasagnas have meat - half ground beef and half spicy Italian sausage.

Josie put together the ricotta lasagna and I put together the ricotta-free lasagna.

And then we wrapped them up with foil, put them in plastic bags and stuck them in the freezer.  Tonight, if I have time, I'm going to make a chicken enchilada soup for Monday night.  

We are prepared for Christmas.  I've wrapped most of the presents, we got a tree and decorated the house.  I've menu-planned and Josie is going to make some cookies... I think we're doing well.  

Monday, December 12, 2016

Hockey Begins

I do realize that for months I've been saying that Henry doesn't want to be a part of my blog anymore and yet he keeps making anonymous :) appearances on this site nonetheless.  I do want to respect his request, but when I spend an entire weekend watching him play hockey, I do feel the need to report about it for my future records.  Besides, it seems to be the photos that I make him pose for that annoy him and not necessarily the ones when he's in full uniform, playing hockey.

Henry's first game of high school hockey was on Friday.  This is Henry's high school team's second year in existence - they lost a decent player or two last year but they added an equal number of new students.  They are starting to become more competitive which is nice.

On Friday afternoon, I was delighted to see an old friend - the mother of someone from our hometown who was in kindergarten with Henry and who played town hockey off and on with Henry over the years.  Kindergarten doesn't seem that long ago, believe it or not - even if both boys are now high school juniors.  

There was one less-than-pleasant moment when Henry got knocked down and then got up and (in his words) "shoved the first person on the other team that he saw" which ended up being his old friend, who then retaliated and they both ended up in the penalty box while their mothers watched, worried that something bad had taken place between the two of them while we reminisced about what good friends they used to be!

After the game, though, the boys laughed and laughed over the incident.  Both said that they had no idea who it was they were attacking until they both ended up in the box.  Ha!

It was fun to see them and it reinforces my theory that it's a small, small world.

On Saturday, Gordy and I went to one of Josie's hockey games and then Josie joined us at Henry's afternoon game.

It was a freezing cold rink but the game was exciting.

Last year, Henry's team scored a total of three goals over all their games.

On Saturday, his team got four goals in one game!  

They still lost, 8-4 but still.  That's pretty amazing.

I'll end this post here, before I share too much about Henry (eye roll) but before I do, here's a gift:

A mom from the other team brought a friend.  So cute, right?

Monday, December 5, 2016

A Random Post

I don't have much to tell you about today, but I did want to post some iPhotos so I remember what happened in November that I didn't already mention.

November was the month of the Film Festival at Henry's school.  Henry is a co-leader of the film club and they organized submissions, had two viewings and an award ceremony.  I missed the high school showing but managed to make it into Brookline for the middle school's turn.  The movies were all quite good - and it was fun to watch Henry give a speech and as a added bonus, I got to see Josie there.  win-win-win.   And if anyone asks, that is not Henry in the above photo.  That's my story and I'm sticking with it.

It's properly winter now and today it even snowed.  Pippa Middleton has become taken to sleeping Princess and The Pea-style.

And so would I, if I could get away with it.

I took this photo of a photo at Gordy's parent's house on Thanksgiving.  Look how sweet young Henry and Georgia looked five years ago:

Josie had a friend from our town over to play and I took them to a trampoline park to burn off some energy.  Here is a photo I took while they listened to the rules of the facility.

I gave Gordy an Amazon Echo for his birthday and it's been fantastic.  Last night, we asked Alexa to play some Dolly Parton  songs ( I cannot for the life of me remember why Dolly Parton came up - perhaps the fires in Gatlinburg?)  and we had an impromptu dance party to Jolene and 9to5.

We have three current big projects - the first is to get through the next two weeks of endless appointments and end-of-the-calendar year functions/concerts.  The second is finish the holiday prep such as cards, decorating, meal planning and do a little bit of redecorating (primarily buying a larger bed for Josie's room and all the sheet, blanket purchasing that requires).  The last task is to get Henry his driver's license which involves a lot of Dealing With the driver's ed company, a lot of swearing under my breath at the driver's ed company and driving around the state with the 16 year old.

And if that sounds fun to you...

Ahh.  Isn't he cute.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Georgia Turns 14

Right after Thanksgiving, Georgia turned 14.  There was a fancy dining room dinner of her choice and there was cake....

but before all that, there was an 8am soccer game and a very early wake-up call.

Perhaps it's not the best way to start your birthday, but after a fall of no soccer, Georgia definitely didn't complain about finally starting the soccer season.

She played the game and waited until she was home again to open presents, 

which was a present to us all.

Georgia spent the day with her friend Colby - she had hoped to have a group of friends over but Thanksgiving-time birthdays limit your choice of celebrants.  Most people are with their families for the holidays.  

For dinner, Georgia chose her favorite Chicken Pot Pie and a chocolate bundt cake with buttercream frosting for her dessert.  Originally, we were going to have take out dinner with Gordy's parents and his sister and her family but after 12 hours of suffering with dog allergies at Thanksgiving, they no longer felt enthusiastic about coming to dog central for a little more runny-nosed fun.

Georgia was sorry not to have them there but perhaps it was for the best since we tend to sing rather boisterously when the cake is arriving at the table and to a 14 year old, that can be pretty embarrassing.

Thirteen was a pretty fabulous year and 14 will be even better.  Georgia has a trip to the Turks & Caicos to look forward to, her 8th grade school trip to Washington, DC, a full season of soccer and more lacrosse, 8th grade graduation, two weeks of summer camp with three of her friends and then starting as a 9th grader at high school in the fall.  Exciting, no?

Happy Birthday, Georgia!

Sunday, November 27, 2016


We had a fun Thanksgiving on Cape Cod this year with Gordy's side of the family (minus Lois and Harvey who were in Florida and greatly missed).  We arrived on Thursday morning.

After catching up with everyone, a few of us went on a walk at a local nature preserve through a wooded area.  Mostly we wanted to stretch our legs and let the dog get out a little energy.

The walkers included:  Me, Gordy, Josie, Henry and Pippa Middleton and Jon (our brother-in-law), Zach (our nephew) and Ned (our nephew).  

Zach is 18 and a high school senior and Ned is thirteen and a seventh grader. Both are sons of Gordy's sister Cathy and the aforementioned Jon.

Josie is still 11 and a sixth grader.

Just in case you've forgotten :)

After our walk, we took some cousin photos out in the backyard but sadly, I didn't get a single one that was in focus or didn't have at least one child blinking or making an odd face.  

Here are the boy cousins:

And here are all five:

After the photos were finished, we all went inside to watch football and socialize.  

Here's Gordy's dad:

And here is a photo of us watching tv.

I didn't get many candids.  I tried to take some photos of the actual dinner, since my dad always does this and they are fun to see/have, but I didn't manage to get a full shot.  For some reason, Gordy's mom didn't make a single photo, which is disappointing to me.  She was there, you will have to believe me.

The kids' table:

And the adults' table:

We didn't spend the night - the house was full with the out-of-town guests and a few of the visiting Minnesotans have dog allergies and were probably thrilled to see Pippa Middleton waddle out the door.  We don't often get to have a holiday with Gordy's entire family so it was a real treat.  

Georgia also had a soccer tournament this weekend and had early morning starts.  We had a very relaxing Thanksgiving holiday and we hope you did too!

Friday, November 18, 2016

The Middle School Choir Presentation

Last night was Josie's first middle school choir performance.  

But don't call it a recital because it wasn't a recital.

I know this because the choir members sat with their parents in the audience and we all got to experience what a typical choir practice is like.


The parents were invited to be a member of the choir....

which means - OH THE HORROR! - 

Audience participation!!!!

Thank goodness I had my camera to hide behind.

I took a lot of photos.

Which made it possible for me to skip the yoga warm up and the solfege and breathing exercises.

Cameras are wonderful things.

The horror of audience participation aside, I did really enjoy the hour.  Josie has a very enthusiastic choir director - but not a dopey enthusiastic, it was more a determined enthusiastic.  He had those kids singing, reading music and doing harmony.  It was a true music class and I was impressed.

They did sing two songs - one solfege-based and the other one with real words and harmonies.  Both were very good.  He has Josie singing alto which I think is odd as she is actually a high soprano but whatever.  He also has her reading music and learning actual skills, so whichever part he wants her to sing is fine with me.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

An Update With Pippa Middleton

I wrote an update on our human children yesterday, so today I will update you all on what's new with Pippa Middleton.  I know how curious you all are about our pug dog (wink, wink!).  

Pippa Middleton in now two and even though she really has one more year of puppy-hood, she's calmed down considerably and acts (mostly) like an older, adult dog.  

And for that, we are incredibly grateful.  

Here is what Pippa Middleton loves:  Kissing strangers, long walks (especially if they provide the opportunity to kiss strangers), greeting anyone who comes into our house as if they are long-lost friends, doing zoomies, playing with her dog neighbors Cooper or Daisy or her pug friend Percy and eating.

Here is what Pippa Middleton doesn't like:  cars, car rides, ferries, ferry rides, the vet and slippery stair cases.

I'd say her hatred of cars is her only real flaw.  Gordy and I have never managed to raise a neurosis-free dog (and this is our fourth dog, so we really are embarrassed) but Pippa Middleton comes the closest to be normal.  

And then we put her in a car - or a car drives by her on a walk - and we realize that we've messed this dog up too.  Because it has to be us, right?  

On Saturday, Gordy and I took Pippa in the car to a local pond with a nice walking trail and Pippa shook and shrieked the entire way.  The noise she makes is almost impossible to describe.  It's loud and piercing and she stress yawns while making it and that adds a particularly strange cadence to the entire thing. 

And then when you get out of the car, she continues the shrieking for the first two or three minutes of the walk.  It's so weird.

She does a similar act on the Block Island ferry although in that case, I think it's more a protesting shriek since we aren't allowing her to run around unleashed so she can kiss all the strangers.  

Gordy went to a presentation at work the other day about how to raise unspoiled, hard-working children and he came home with a list of things that we should do to ensure that our children grow into productive adults - one of which is that all of our children should be doing chores around the house.

This is a touchy subject at our house.  For years we have been working on getting our children to help out around the house and very few of our attempts have been successful.  Weekly chores always work for a month or two and then something in the schedule changes and Henry doesn't have time to make his bed before 5am hockey or Josie can't set the table because she is never home before dinner and Georgia can't gather the trash because soccer is suddenly on Thursday night.  Or else we offer them an allowance if they do certain daily household tasks and after a week or two, they decide that they'd rather have the free time than the money.   I should have started these chores back when the kids were really young and didn't have the teenage will to say no (or no thank you, as my children are polite), but when they were really young, it was always easier and quicker to do tasks on my own and it became my habit instead of theirs.

Gordy and I were in bed talking about all this and we agreed that we do have one success in the anti-spoiling campaign:  Pippa Middleton.  The only chores in the house that all three kids will just do without fight or complaints are Pippa Middleton - related chores:  walking Pippa, feeding her, filling her water bowl, playing with her, etc.

So that made us feel better.  Maybe our children won't be lazy, good-for-nothings after all.

Pippa Middleton says, you are welcome, world.

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