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.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Around Here

Hello everyone!  Long time no post.  

We have been busy here in Massachusetts but I have very few photos to prove it.  It's finals week for Henry and that's hasn't been too much fun.  I'm pretty sure that Henry has never been busier and I feel like this year is just racing along towards that moment when Henry graduates high school and leaves for college.  And I am just not ready for that.  I know Henry is only in his junior year, but the first two years of high school went unbelievably fast so I'm assuming the second two will as well.  

High school hockey started yesterday morning which meant that Henry had to get up at 5am to get to the rink at Boston University on time.    It will take a few weeks for him to get into the early morning routine again - if he ever does.  Right now he's exhausted, he's suffering from his usual winter eczema but this year it's worse since he's on acne medicine that dries him out and he is stressing about his math exam on Friday.  

But those are the bad things - he is actually enjoying himself, for the most part.  He has a great group of friends, some of whom have their driver's licenses which helps tremendously.  Henry has been working on his own driving skills.  The earliest he can take the exam is January which couldn't come early enough for Gordy who would rather NOT be driving Henry into Boston for hockey every morning. :)

And how is Georgia?   She is well, thank you!  Eighth grade is going fantastically and if you ask me, the workload has been pretty easy compared to last year and since Georgia didn't have soccer this fall, she had a lot more time to hang out with her friends.  She's also been able to participate in a few lacrosse tournaments, so that was nice.  We just signed Georgia up for a two-week summer camp with three of her friends.  

Yes, we are really figuring out our summer plans in November.

Josie is thriving, too.  She loves her new school and I love how little homework she has since her sport schedule has been rather nutty.  This has been the first week with no field hockey and things are already running more smoothly.  Josie is now in an art class as her after-school activity and she's really enjoying it.  Henry did this same art class when he was in eighth grade and he loved it, too, so we aren't surprised.  What child doesn't enjoy an open art room and the ability to create whatever they'd like with whatever medium available?  

The unicorns were done at home, not school.   In case you were wondering.  We made Josie put away her phone last weekend and this is what she did instead of texting her friends.  

And finally, last night was the Super Moon and I tried to get a photo:

Werewolves - look away!

It was pretty cloudy so this was the best I could do!

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Iphone Photos From The Fall

We've had a gorgeous fall this year.  I heard at the start of the season that we New Englanders might be disappointed by the foliage - there was a pretty horrible summer draught in our area and apparently that affects the leaves, but the predictors couldn't have been more wrong.  The colors have been amazing and the leaves seem to be lasting longer than usual.  I find myself taking photos on my phone constantly. Above is a photo that I took on my weekly walk with my great friend Kathy.  We were in the Middlesex Fells.  It doesn't show the fall colors, but it does match my mood this morning after the election.  (Sad, depressed, confused, gray, foggy... you get the picture)

I was looking through my phone this morning for blog inspiration and I found the below photo taken from my Maine trip with Henry:

Pippa Middleton spends a good portion of her day looking at the windows and following the paths of the neighborhood squirrels and chipmunks.

This is the view from her favorite window right now:

It was a rough night for this liberal Democrat and feminist.  And I woke up to a flat tire and a report from my credit monitoring service that someone had used my information to open a fraudulent credit card.  I've spent the last couple of hours waiting for the tow truck, calling the service station, calling the credit bureaus, calling the bank that issued the card and reading the thousands of texts that my family has been sending back and forth about the election.

I sent the kids off to school with two thoughts:  (1) work really hard at school, our future might depend on your generation  (2) maybe we need to all do the Norwegian immersion camp this summer just in case we need to reverse-migrate back to the motherland.

Monday, November 7, 2016

The End of Field Hockey

Today marks the end of Josie's first season playing field hockey.  Their last game was on Friday (they tied 0-0) 

You may remember that Josie attended a field hockey clinic last spring and liked it enough that she decided to give field hockey a try at her new school this fall.  

You can probably tell from these photos, but if you can't, let me tell you that Josie loved field hockey.  

She enjoyed the sport but what she loved the most was being on the team, making friends with girls from all three middle school grades and playing games all over the city.  

Her team wasn't perhaps the best, but who cares.  They did win a game or two.  Josie scored two goals for the season and she did a great job playing a variety of positions.

Her last game was played at a school about fifteen minutes from our house, so that was pretty great, too!   Thanks for driving Josie home, team!

This semester, Josie has arranged to take art studio three days a week and the other two days, I'll pick her up early for ice hockey.  She'll have enough time to get home, eat a snack, change her clothes and relax (for a very short time) before we have to leave for practice and that is a luxury that seemed impossible just a few weeks ago.  

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Halloween 2016

Halloween 2016 went by really fast and that's probably because it was on a Monday and the kids had school that day and the day after (today!).  Josie organized her costume on her own, so I had very little to do with the entire holiday.  Josie and her friend Rachel were Thing One and Thing Two.  Because of the whole school night thing and because Rachel lives closer to school than we do, Josie got to spend the night after they went trick-or-treating.  Rachel's dad also picked the girls up from school, so technically I might not have been a part of Halloween at all, except as you know, I never miss an opportunity to take photos!

I arranged my schedule so that I could drive down to Newton to "bring Josie her overnight bag" which is mom-talk for "arrive with my large camera and take an embarrassingly amount of photos of the Halloween girls."

Josie is our last trick-or-treater. 

Georgia wore a costume, too, but she didn't go out trick-or-treating.  Instead, she had her friends over for dinner and a Halloween-theme movie.  All the girls dressed like characters from Gray's Anatomy.

I took photos of the older girls, too, but 8th graders actually like getting their photo taken, so at least one of my children wasn't mortified by my behavior!

We only got one group of trick-or-treaters - a toddler brother and sister team who we didn't recognize but were happy to see nonetheless.  I had made a point of only buying one bag of candy this year - we always have so much left-over candy - but then Georgia's friends brought candy to the party and we ended up with a massive, over-flowing bowl of sugar.  When the door bell rang with our two trick-or-treaters, I figured it was our opportunity to get rid of at least half of the bowl, but sadly, these two children were well-behaved and only two a few pieces each.  It didn't help that when holding out the candy bowl, Gordy said "take two."  Take two!  I had been thinking they'd take two handfuls!

The overflowing candy bowl is still overflowing this morning.  

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