Archive for the ‘Connecticut’ Category

Halloween 2018: The Greatest Showman

Friday, October 12th, 2018

Every night I lie in bed
The brightest colors fill my head
A million dreams are keeping me awake
I think of what the world could be
A vision of the one I see
A million dreams is all it’s gonna take

A million dreams for the world we’re gonna make

Last year, the kids got really into Halloween. They agreed on a family costume and were super (pun intended) into dressing up as many times as possible for photos.

This year, Lincoln decided he HAD to be P.T. Barnum from The Greatest Showman. He is beyond obsessed with that movie, we’ve watched it multiple times a week ever since it came out. Caroline was fully on board with that as a family costume, since she wants nothing more in life than to join a circus as an aerialist. The rest of us agreed we could live with being assigned other characters, which Lincoln was happy to choose for us.

None of these costumes are available straight from the store yet. I had hoped that Chasing Fireflies might have them when this year’s catalog came out, but I think most kids still want to be superheroes or unicorns instead of characters from a musical with a pretty flimsy plot line. But I am not afraid of hot glue and sequins, and once I realized that wasn’t quite enough I learned to use my sewing machine. None of it would pass a close inspection, but for trick-or-treating (or photos!) they worked great.

So for Halloween 2018, I officially present:

Lincoln…as P. T. Barnum

Caroline…as Anne Wheeler

Evan…as Phillip Carlyle

Finnegan…as The Tattooed Man

And me…as Jenny Lind

the greatest showman costume

anne wheeler costume

the greatest showman costume

the greatest showman costume

the greatest showman costume

the greatest showman costume

the greatest showman costume

the greatest showman costume

the greatest showman costume

the greatest showman costume

 

 

These photos aren’t going to win any awards for technical perfection – taking pictures inside dark spaces is NOT my specialty, four kids is a lot of kids to pose, and toddlers are not the best listeners. But that doesn’t make them any less fun. None of the kids care if the pictures are a little grainy, all they care about is seeing their dreams come true.

Sources (all Amazon affiliate links):

Tiny tuxedo
Red vest
Pink wig
Purple leotard
Sparkle tank top
Cream bolero
Hoop skirt
Black hat (this is the only one of several I ordered that actually fit Linc!)
Red Hat
Temporary tattoos
More tattoos
Girl’s dance tights

All the trim and fabric is from Joann’s. One stick is a dowel I painted, the other is from Party City. Evan and Finnegan owned most of their costumes, I got the vest at Goodwill and Finn’s undershirt at Walmart. All the sparkly jewelry is also from Walmart. Also a huge shout out to my amazing hairdresser Jackie at Wild Love Hair Studio for making me a redhead.

And the biggest thank you goes to The Garde Arts Center in New London. I sent an email asking about maybe possibly using just their lobby for some photos and within 24 hours they had found me a time to come in and use the whole theater. Carolyn was beyond generous with her time and resources (I think Finnegan wanted to go home with her) and I could not have made this magic without them. They are a non-profit organization that has worked to painstakingly restore this old movie house to its original glory. I made a donation to thank them for their time and we’ll be attending as many events there as possible, both because it’s an amazing building and because they’re a wonderful organization. (They’re having an awesome Halloween Movie event! You can take the kids to see Hotel Transylvania on Saturday the 27th!)

Happy Halloween!

Where it’s covered in all the colored lights
Where the runaways are runnin’ the night
Impossible comes true, it’s takin’ over you
Oh, this is the greatest show
We light it up, we won’t come down
And the sun can’t stop us now
Watchin’ it come true, it’s takin’ over you
Oh, this is the greatest show

 

 

Best Weekend Of The Year 2018

Monday, October 1st, 2018

Previous years: 2017, 2016, 2015 part 1 and part 2, 2014, 2013, 2012

I really love the best weekend of the year. It kicks off the season of How Many Different Seasonal Activities Can We Fit Into Just Two Days? I love being able to walk to two different food festivals from my front door. I love taking the same photo of the kids at the fair every year. I love running into people I don’t get to see very often but then our kids are instantly best friends again. I love not cooking all weekend and saying yes to everything.

And I love looking back at the other Best Weekends and seeing how our family has grown.

In order: Greek Food Festival, Ledyard Fair, Taste of Italy, Mystic Eats

 

The Gift of September

Friday, September 7th, 2018

Every year in New England, on September 1st, we all prepare for fall. It’s September. It’s Fall. It’s time to get out our cardigans and boots, sleep with the windows open and four blankets, pick apples, drink lattes, and throw around as many decorative gourds as we can.

And every year, on September 1st, we remember that it’s actually still summer.

But our surprise is a gift – doing fun summer stuff in September feels like cheating. I’m swimming in the ocean in September! (And don’t tell anyone the ocean is actually crazy warm in September, or we’ll have to share the beach with too many people.) I’m wearing sundresses in September! We’re having ice cream for dinner in September! Let’s jump in the car after school and do ALL of that on a Thursday!

All the things I was tired of – sand in my car, washing a million towels, late bedtimes, no plans for dinner, car naps – are once again charming and fun. I can sit on a towel by the ocean wondering why we don’t go to the beach EVERY day with absolutely no irony. It’s like my brain was wiped clean on the first day of the month and I’m ready for summer all over again.

The most pleasant part of the whole thing is in a few days (a week, maybe three if we’re lucky) it actually WILL be fall. I’ll vacuum all the sand out of my car and deflate all the floaties until next year. We will all start wearing pants and I’ll buy 3 new striped shirts. We’ll eat apples and chowder and cider donuts and the bakery in Mystic will smell like pumpkin and cinnamon instead of lavender and vanilla. We get our bonus, stolen summer right before the very best part of New England.

This is why we’re still here.

Sunflowers for Wishes 2018

Thursday, August 9th, 2018

Previous year Sunflowers for Wishes: 2013 2012 2011 2010

Apparently, I didn’t manage to blog our trip last year, even though I know we went. I have one picture in my 365 project but I remember it being REALLY hot and crowded so I don’t think I took many photos.

This year was not at all crowded and only a little bit hot. I took a ton of pictures.

Key lime & chocolate brownie batter

Lavender honey

Peppermint stick

Blue Star Museums Summer: In Our Town!

Sunday, August 5th, 2018

Since I made the list of Blue Star Museums for the wall, Lincoln has been obsessed with “moo-see-ums”, and asks every day if we can go to one. Our summer weekends are blessedly empty of commitments, so we get to say yes pretty often. Last weekend though, we looked at the list, mentally calculated the costs of lunch and/or dinner out, the drive times, the 95% humidity and dragged our feet all morning, hoping the kids would entertain themselves.

Then I remembered we had two Blue Star Museums right here in Norwich. I hadn’t even bothered to add them to our list because they are walking distance from our front door and I pass them several times I day. They don’t really count as GOING somewhere. But E and I had never been to either one and figured it would be a good compromise between doing nothing and moo-see-ums.

It turns out, both places are TOTALLY worth visiting! They were interesting! And bigger than I thought! And really fun, even if it was a million degrees inside!

First, we visited The Slater Museum. It’s on the campus of Norwich Free Academy, which is the high school in our town. It’s an endowed academy, a private school that serves as a public school. You can read about the history here, which is the sort of stuff I love, so when we bought this house one of the main draws was being super close to NFA.

From their website: Slater Memorial Building, dedicated in 1886, a gift from William A. Slater (NFA 1875; 1857-1909), was the second structure built on campus. It included the Slater Memorial Museum. The Norwich Art School launched in 1890, because the Museum offered a World-class laboratory for art instruction. By 1906, the Art School, enjoying ever-expanding success and popularity, moved into its own building, named for benefactor Charles A. Converse. (More dorky stuff: my favorite house in Norwich is the Converse House, a Victorian Gothic mansion around the corner from us. I bought a bedroom set at a garage sale there once and got to go inside and look around. It’s AMAZING. Also, it’s for sale.)

This is all really typical New England stuff. Towns on rivers all used to have huge mills and factories, lots of people used to be super rich, and if you walk through the graveyards the names on the stones are all the names of the streets, hospitals, museums, banks, buildings and people who still live here. I love it.

Anyway, back to our visit. The Slater Museum was actually free for everyone the day we went, not just military families. (It’s free on Saturdays during July and August for everyone, so if you’re close enough I recommend a visit!) I’m going to go back with fewer children so I can actually read signs and learn stuff.

Then we went over to the Leffingwell House Museum, which is WAY older than NFA. It used to be a private house, then an inn and tavern. It also was full of familiar names – at one point it was owned by the Backus family, Backus Hospital is where I delivered all four babies.

I took a lot fewer pictures because I was actually listening to our tour guide, who was very entertaining, knew tons of interesting facts both about the house and about the 1700’s in general, and kept the kids entertained.

That thing is called a weasel, and they used it to measure skeins of yarn and when you spin it it makes a pop sound when you have the right length. Pop goes the weasel.

Standing in the exact spot where George Washington stood. Since my children are obsessed with Hamilton, this was very exciting. There was also a lot of Benedict Arnold stuff (he’s from Norwich) but I’m going to need a hip-hop musical about his life before I’m super interested.

I can’t believe I’ve lived in Norwich for 10 years and haven’t been to either of those museums before. If you’re local, don’t make the same mistake!

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