Friday, November 30, 2012

Thankful for family, rocks, and food...

 ..among other things. This Thanksgiving, we hosted an amazing feast that I somehow did not get a single picture of. We had some traditional items: turkey and sweet potato casserole (prepared by Scott), mashed potatoes (courtesy of Jared, Scott's bro-in-law), stuffing (by Nancy), butterhorn rolls and pumpkin pie (by Valerie), cranberry sauce (by Market Basket), roasted beet-fennel salad, vegan gravy, almond-raspberry cheesecake, apple pies, homemade vanilla ice cream, and pumpkin roll (by moi).
 The feasting was good, but so was the crowd. Scott's parents, sister Nancy, her hubby Jared, and bro Mark came and stayed with us for a few days. Mark packed about one shirt and 50 pounds of climbing gear, so they put it all to good use.
 The day after Thanksgiving was Mark's birthday and Nancy thought it'd be a fantastic idea to get shirts made for everyone with Mark's kindergarten portrait on them. They turned out pretty awesome, right? As you can see, Mark is super-enthused about turning 19.
As for me, I made a 30-foot-long paper-chain of things I am thankful for. Today I am thankful that Phoebe is still napping and technology exists that makes my life simpler in some ways and allows me to reach my faraway family.

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Friday, November 16, 2012

Family Photos

 Today we spent five minutes after school taking a family picture. Scott was home for the day (because he will be working all night tonight) and Christmas card/ family calendar season is coming up, so we grabbed a friend and a camera and snapped a few photos of the four of us.
 I forgot to tie up my scarf so it looks less weird and the kids are making weird faces, but I did comb my hair and convince Bruce to cover up his Star Wars shirt with a sweater, so we will count it a small success.
Scott finished up an elective month on the MGH stroke service. He worked with some amazing physicians, learned new things every day, and spent a lot of time with patients doing weird neurological tests to figure out what part(s) of their brains were not fully functional. As for me, my hip is still on the mend; it has improved a lot, but there will be no fast Turkey Trot for me this year. Scott's parents, brother Mark, and sister Nancy and her husband are coming to visit for Thanksgiving next week. I already assembled and froze the butterhorn rolls, baked and assembled a pumpkin roll, and am planning on doing some more cooking and baking this weekend.

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Saturday, November 03, 2012

Happy Halloween!

Bruce dressed up as a skeleton this year. He wanted to be a dancing skeleton from Harry Potter because his best friend dressed up as Harry. Phoebe wasn't sure what she wanted to be, or at least she was sure but sure about something different every day.
 Some days she would want to be a princess, some days a firefighter, some days Mr. Incredible, some days a doctor, and some a tiger. She found this costume at a clothing swap at church. It is supposed to be Tigger, but she has never seen Winnie the Pooh; when people asked her if she was Tigger, she would correct them by saying she was a tiger and then growling at them.
The kids scored lots of candy this year. We had trick-or-treating among our immediate neighbors on one night, did trick-or-treating at the fire station on Halloween during the day, and then headed to Beacon Hill for their first real knock-on-the-door-style trick-or-treating. Phoebe has already eaten through a good portion of her candy. Bruce's will last until Easter unless Phoebe gets her hands on it; Bruce isn't really into candy, just into the pursuit of it.

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Phoebe turned three and had the birthday of her dreams. She got to wear a bedazzled crown, eat Lucky Charms for breakfast, and open presents. Phoebe is still overjoyed by the simplest things - like this pair of fairy wings from the dollar aisle. It is hard to not completely spoil her.
 We Skyped with the Raymonds so we could all sing "Happy Birthday." Phoebe requested a pink cake with pink frosting, lots of colorful sprinkles, and a strawberry and chocolate on top. When I asked her what kind of birthday party she wanted, she sometimes said "DORA!" and sometimes said "PINK!"
 We held her birthday party the week after her birthday so that Grandma could be there. When her friends started to arrive, we had some music time where we sang some of Phoebe's favorite songs.
 After everyone arrived, we played the Dora theme song and then followed "The Map" on an adventure around the neighborhood.
 I chalked up the sidewalks, drawing Dora and Boots and Swiper in strategic places. Our adventure took us to a garden, a playground (where we found the "estrellas"), and a big tree (where we hit a pinata).
 Grandma spent hours gluing pink and purple flowers on the pinata. The kids spent a few minutes bashing it to pieces. We returned home to a lunch of quesadillas, peas, applesauce, and cupcakes, and then opened gifts.
The result was gifts and torn paper strewn about the floor, mashed cupcakes in the rug, lots and lots of leftover peas (I guess not every toddler likes them as much as Phoebe does), and a very happy and tired Phoebe. Worth it.

Definitely worth it. I get all nostalgic at birthdays, busting out the photo albums and remembering just how physically and emotionally painful their births were. Phoebe was in the hospital longer, so I seem to have more memory triggers from that time: for instance, when I hear Reggae music it reminds me of driving to the hospital after putting Bruce to bed at night so I could visit Phoebe. There was a radio station that played Reggae at night and it was more often than not the only thing on, so I would listen to it and try to not worry, "be happy." The scent of Purell makes me remember the routine of sanitizing in the hospital until my hands were grossly chapped. When I read in the scriptures about Noah being on the water for 40 days or Jesus fasting for 40 days, I feel that length of time: Phoebe was in the hospital for that long and the days crept by so slowly and the end never seemed within reach. Phoebe did eventually come home, and it made Thanksgiving that much more meaningful for me. I am lucky to be a mom, and blessed to be Bruce and Phoebe's mom.

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Fall back.

 Fall has been good to us. We went apple picking with friends.
 We ate apple pie and apple crisp and plain old apples for weeks following this little trip to the orchard.
Scott joined up with some friends to run the Ragnar Adirondacks Relay. It was an "ultra" team, so it consisted of six team members rather than the usual 12 (like the one I did at Ragnar Cape Cod). Scott ran three relay legs totaling 32+ miles. He experienced "hitting the wall," but came home hungry for more. He is planning on running a trail marathon in New York in May; I'll join him if my hip continues to cooperate. I ran my first speedwork since Labor Day this week. I felt out of breath and out of shape, but my hip is back up and running. Yea!
 In the anticipation of winter, we have been park-hopping and making the most of the (generally) mild weather.
 Perhaps the best thing to happen this fall is that my mom came to visit. There was a good deal on airline tickets, so she came. We didn't make huge plans because Bruce still had school, but it was nice to relax and talk to my mom all day and all night.
 The kids loved having Grandma around. Like the kids, she has lots of energy - and she slept very well at night!
 Bruce had one day off school, so we played all morning and then headed downtown to take a boat into the Atlantic to go looking for whales.
 It takes 45-60 minutes for the boat to travel to the bay where whales typically feed, so I brought a DVD player to keep Phoebe busy.
 She didn't last long enough to see whales. Thankfully, she was free.
 We saw a few humpback and fin whales. The coolest thing we saw was a humpback jump clear out of the water. Usually when the whales surface, you see their spout blow upward, their fin glide for a bit, and then their back arch and tail flap down into the water. The biologist on the boat said she couldn't remember the last time she saw a whale breach the water like that.
I'm glad we fit the whale watch in when we did. A few days later, Hurricane Sandy roughed up the waters (and land and air!) a bit. My mom ended up flying out ahead of the storm to avoid the inevitable delays afterward. Boston didn't get as much damage as anticipated; it was very windy and rainy on Monday (enough to cancel school) and some areas had power outages, but we stayed inside and were fine the whole time.

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