Tuesday, December 20, 2011

first time for everything...

This weekend Elizabeth and I got to experience a first in our house - head lice. I started checking heads on Friday after a kid at daycare went home with them. And I only knew about this fact because I've been working at the daycare in the mornings. Apparently the child that had them has been having an issue for quite some time and goes home once a week with them.

Ugh. But I am trying to stay as optimistic as I can. A ratio of 2 to 5 isn't bad. And the little miss looks clean. As for myself...I am sort of hoping and praying I am doing a good enough job checking my own head. Which is NOT easy to do. But when you have a spouse that thinks it's icky...well, let's just say if I wouldn't risk everyone getting them I'd wish them on him!

Today I washed my hair twice with coconut scented shampoo after reading that scent supposedly helps deter them. Yet I still smell like a strange combination of vinegar and rubbing alcohol.

And I've learned a lot about them. I always knew it was best not to share hats. But I never thought about the fact that they crawl from one head to another. And that having hair down creates a sort of "bridge" for them. So you are more likely to see all of us with our hair up, or short. And I won't be putting my head too close to any kids just in case. Cause I've skeeved myself out and am hoping we've seen the last of these critters at our house. And so is my washer and dryer, cause they were put through their paces!

8 is great

For our family the holiday season is a little extra busy thanks to arrival of Alexa the week after Thanksgiving. Given that her original due date was the 18th I guess I'd rather have it closer to Thanksgiving than Christmas, as does she.

The festivities started off with a surprise trip to Portland. Granted, once we headed in that direction some of the surprise was gone. But they didn't know what we'd be doing there! And it was a busy one...

We attend Christmas at Hadlock Field first. The kids got to decorate baseballs, see Santa arrive via helicopter on the field, make a smore and stand in line for Santa. I say stand in line because it was crazy long and we knew that he'd be making a visit closer to home with much shorter wait times.

After that we hit the mall for a little shopping and some lunch. Then tried to fool the kids into thinking we weren't going to Chuck E Cheese even though we were walking right by it. It sort of worked. But what they didn't know is that they'd be getting to see their aunts, the significant others, and Grammy K. Everyone had fun playing games, although there was a little grumbling among the adults about another adult at CEC (not with us) that kept scoring loads of tickets. Jealous grumbling I say.

Then it was off to the hotel. The twins and I stayed behind to eat pizza and watch loads of tv. Chris and Alexa went to see the Red Claws in action, up close thanks to a pair of courtside tickets Chris won. Alexa had a good time - especially the fact that there was no waiting in line for food, the waitress came to you.

We got home in time the next day to dump our luggage and packages, and grab the party supplies before heading over to the Samoset for her actual party. Which was at the pool and included lots of kids! They burned off loads of energy swimming, jumping, and splashing before having some snacks, cake and presents.

Given that Alexa repeated to me for at least another week how great it was - I'd say it was a success.

Now how do I feel about my "baby" turning 8? I can tell you that in a lot of ways she's more mature than I was at 8. But I think that is how all kids seem to be these days. I know I didn't sass quite so much...or at least not until I was older.

She continues to be an excellent reader, up to nearly 4th grade. Her favorite books to read are Junie B Jones, Magic Tree House, Misty of Chiconteague, and Ramona. She's also been delving into the Little House on the Prairie series - books I loved myself as a kid. She's a wonderful writer - with imagination, good spelling, and neat penmanship. She's also a much better artist than I will ever be. She likes to learn and is good at math and science also. She's a good friend to just about everyone she knows and does her best to be nice to them even when they might be mean. Now if that could just carry over at home...where she tends to be a little mouthy. I suppose I could say she's independent. And she's thoughtful. She was so excited to have used some of her own birthday money to buy gifts for her brother and sister for Christmas. If only she'd realize she could possibly earn an allowance by doing her chores without being told...

All in all I think she's one pretty special and unique child. Even when she's driving me crazy...making me scream and pull my hair out.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Fall has arrived...

Alexa's 2nd grade picture

With the arrival of fall came school, soccer, and a little more field hockey. It meant the start of Girl Scout meetings, harvesting the last of the vegetables, and Halloween!

This year Alexa did soccer through the Thomaston Recreation Department. There were only four sessions and I must be honest - I didn't make it to a single one. I used that time to do errands around the house or grocery shopping, allowing it to be something between her and her dad.

Alexa in one of her many poses before game time

The first day of school arrived prior to Labor Day this year, just after the "hurricane". I had actually had my "first day" of school the day before when we had an assembly to welcome back all the teachers and ed techs. This year was a little different because we made a goal of getting Alexa onto the bus in the morning. It doesn't pick up at the house, but rather just down the street. Alexa quickly made friends with the other kids!

We also made it apple picking, eventually. The month of September flew by so quickly! We went with my brother and his family to Schoolhouse Farms. It was nice to go someplace so close to us. And we couldn't have picked a more beautiful day. It was a sunny and HOT October day. The kids had so much fun gathering apples, and we've all had fun eating them.

Then before we knew it it was Halloween...or at least close. We took advantage of another beautiful day to decorate the front yard. The kids and the neighbor kids had a good time. And it looked great, for awhile. Unfortunately the neighbor's kid would tear stuff out of the ground whenever he got mad at the girls.

The rain did a number a few days later also. Then just before Halloween I took everything down because we got this...

That's right. We went from beautiful and sunny to snowsuits! Got to love Maine weather...

Pumpkins were easy this year because we grew them in our garden. They started as little seedlings from the preschool and yielded 5 pumpkins! The kids each picked out their own and cleaned them out. There were lots of pumpkin seeds to eat. And I used the pieces we cut out to later make pumpkin bread.

the final results!
Trick o' treating was fun this year. I cheated and pretty much picked out the twins costumes for them, purchased a month earlier at Walmart. Alexa wanted to be a zombie. She unraveled from the waist down before we even got out the door (hence the grumpy face in the picture). We walked from our house, down Roxbury to Fluker and onto Knox. I was astounded by the number of kids once we hit Knox Street! Then down Main Street to home. It took us an hour of walking. The kids did great - no candy along the way and only 2 pieces when they got home.

off we go!
home again...

4? not possible...is it?

We celebrated the twins turning four with our usual big family and friends gathering. The only difference this year, beyond the new house, was that we just did cake and ice cream instead of a big BBQ. But it worked out fine and everyone enjoyed themselves!

on their actual birthday wearing their "Birthday Kid" ribbons
signs made to go with our Pirates and Princesses theme

opening some gifts...
Making their cakes was a very time intensive project but thoroughly enjoyable. They were as good to eat as they looked!

Dad carrying Jake's pirate ship cake

Elizabeth's castle cake

Alexa and her Thomaston BFF Anna sporting the crowns they made.

Girls weekend

In June Alexa and I got to enjoy a weekend for just ourselves. For her 7th birthday I had purchased 2 Taylor Swift tickets. I think we all love Taylor...even Chris!

Transporting ourselves down to Foxborough was much discussed. I knew I wasn't going to be up for driving all that way by myself. So we discussed Chris driving down with us. That later become taking the train. Or did we want to fly? Flying became an option after Chris received 4 free one way tickets from Cape Air after helping someone out at the hotel. In the end is was the Downeaster down, Cape Air back up.

We would have flown down if I'd gotten around to booking an early enough flight. Then there was deciding a hotel! I had booked a few at an associate rate but Chris managed to cancel them. We ended up going with a great little inn right in Foxborough called the Ancient Marinere. It was a lovely place with a wonderful host and hostess running it.

So...going back to the beginning of our weekend. It started early the morning
of the 25th with Chris and the twins driving us down to Portland to get the train.

showing off the train tickets
We got a bit delayed just before Boston for some reason. Which meant it was going to be a dash to catch the proper public transportation out to Foxborough. We got the subway to the commuter rail no problem, just a little behind. Someone was definitely watching over us that day because the commuter rail left a little late. Of course once I got on I worried "uh, oh, we are on the right one...right?". I called the hotel when we were about 5 minutes out and they came to pick us up. We got a lovely little tour of Foxborough. Not so different from home...other than it being much bigger and lots more traffic. We got checked in, had a little lunch in the restaurant and then I tried to take a little nap in our spacious room (we had to leave Thomaston at 6am...I was beat!). It came with 2 double sized beds, private bathroom and a full kitchen area. Not bad for $130 and when we got to Taylor's next concert I know I will be booking here.

Eventually I gave up on the nap and we got dressed and headed downstairs to wait.

the funky chair in the hotel lobby

Alexa holding her breathe to get rid of hiccups...how could I resist? :)
They drove us within a mile or so of the concert. There was no getting any closer. It was a bit of a walk with Alexa complaining the ENTIRE way. Granted it was hot and far. But we made it.

almost there...see Gillette Stadium way in the distance?

The concert itself didn't start till 7pm. But arriving there early let us soak up the atmosphere of THOUSANDS of happy girls (and some boys), of all ages.

resting outside the stadium

before all the people!

pictures with Taylor...if only it was the real one!
We made it through the wait, and 3 opening acts by having dinner and taking pictures.

And finally around 9pm it was showtime! I have never been to a real concert before. Sure I saw the Wallflowers when they came to UMaine, and Rustic Overtones when they still played on the porches of fraternity houses at UMaine. But never a concert with this many people. It was absolutely amazing! I already told the family that next time around I am splurging for seats that are much closer.
opening...Sparks Fly!

It did start to rain halfway through. But rain didn't stop anyone - fans, nor Taylor. If anything it made it an even more memorable experience. It did make me glad that I spent a few bucks to buy ponchos - they were very handy. Alexa did doze off a few times and I had to keep nudging her awake. Then sadly it was over and time to make the very long walk back to our pick up location.
after the show...a little wet but happy!
I must say I have never experienced a pedestrian jam before. But that is what happens when thousands of people leave a stadium at the same time. Some people had to try and push to get ahead. But the majority was enjoying the euphoric high of the concert and just going with the flow.

The next morning we had to catch the commuter rail back to Boston and then the plane. We had some breakfast before coming back to pack. True to form we were late getting to the commuter rail, but that was the driver's mistake. He thought we had said 12 when we had said 11! We got there just as everyone was loading. There was some panic when I realized I couldn't buy tickets because I had no cash. Thankfully the conductor gave us a form to fill out and eventually I will be billed for my ticket (the entire $1.40?).

front steps of the Ancient Marinere
sporting the cowboy hat our hostess gave her - she loved Alexa!

We had time to spare at the airport which was my goal. I couldn't risk missing our flight! We had some lunch and wandered around. Then onto the plane. I have flown 2 other times, to Florida and back when I was 13. Things have changed a little since then. I wasn't really sure how the security procedure went and was quite thankful I didn't get hauled off into any rooms.

waiting at the airport...

enjoying a BK burger - took 3 times to get it her way!

view from the back of the plane

view outside of the plane, over Boston

Alexa was a little nervous as we got going...

but it didn't last long! This was how she spent the hour home.

landing back in Thomaston - no more sun

what the plane looked like from the outside!
We arrived home safe and sound to a very dreary looking day. Too bad we didn't bring the sunny Boston weather back with us! The only downside to the flight was that my ears plugged up pretty bad. I thought my ear drums were going to blow. It took several hours to have my hearing restored. Chris and the twins were happy to have us home again. So happy the kids started bickering right away. :)

Rumor has it Taylor comes out with a new album sometime in 2012. Which will mean a concert hopefully in late 2012 or 2013. And this time around it'll be me and both girls, Jake if he wants to come. When I mentioned the idea he said that he'd rather have Daddy time at the office!

Jacob's milestones

  • weight/length @ 7: 55.6lbs, 48.75"
  • weight/length @ 5: 42lbs, 43.5"
  • weight/length @ 4: 36 lbs, 39+"
  • weight/length@ 3: 32lbs, 36.5 inches
  • weight/length @ 2 years: 26lbs, 33.5 inches
  • weight/length @ 1 year: 18lbs, 29 inches
  • walking: 11/17/08
  • standing: 3/31/08
  • crawling: army, 2/5/08
  • first time rolling: 9/30/07, belly to back
  • first smile: 9/7/07
  • birth date/time: 7/8/07, 12:49am
  • birth length: 19.5 inches
  • birth weight: 6lbs, 1oz

Elizabeth's milestones

  • weight/length @7: 53lbs, 47.75"
  • weight/length @ 5: 40 lbs, 42.25"
  • weight/length @ 4: 34lbs, 38"
  • weight/length 3 years: 28lbs, 35.5 inches
  • weight/length 2 years: 24lbs, 6oz 33 inches
  • weight/length 1 year: 18lbs, 1oz 27.5 inches
  • walking: 9/1/08
  • standing: 4/4/08
  • crawling: army 3/16/08
  • sitting alone: 2/29/08
  • first time rolling: 11/23/07, back to belly
  • first smile: 9/7/07
  • birth date/time: 7/8/07, 12:50am
  • birth length: 18.75 inches
  • birth weight: 5lbs, 8oz

Alexa's milestones

  • weight/height @ 10 (really 10.8): 186, 5'3"
  • weight/height @ 8.4 years: 113 lbs, 55.5 inches
  • weight/height @ 5 years: 61lbs, 4oz 45.25 inches
  • weight/length @ 4 years: 49lbs, 42 inches
  • weight/length @ 3 years: 38lbs, 38 inches
  • weight/length @ 2 years: 32lbs, 8oz 35.75 inches
  • weight/length @ 1 year: 22lbs, 3 oz 29.5 inches
  • 1st day of preschool: 9/3/08
  • solo somersault: 3/4/08
  • whistling: 3/2/08
  • potty training: 10/7/05
  • walking: 12/21/04
  • standing: 8/23/04
  • crawling: 8/21/04, only a week, then became a butt scoot
  • first wave: 7/27/04
  • rolling: 5/2/04, belly to back
  • sleeping thru the night: 3/1/04
  • first smile: 1/20/04
  • birth date/time: 12/4/03, 10:41pm
  • birth length: 20 inches
  • birth weight: 7lbs