Posts Tagged ‘new england’

My Week(179) in iPhone Photos

Monday, April 7th, 2014

Forgive me, it was party week, so I am late. Basically everything between now and August will be late, although my only real excuse will be “pregnant” or “giving birth”. Those actually sound like better excuses than a 5 year old’s birthday though.

Sunday:

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Random 6 am barfing = morning bath

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Clearly she felt much better a few hours later

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This is not actually very good, but that did not stop me from eating it with a spoon

Monday:

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I HATE YOU SNOW

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TA-DA!

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Helping

Tuesday:

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Pirate Fairy Day. It was really all we did.

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Dancing to the pirate song

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Flip-flop weather!!

Wednesday:

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She accessorized.

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Swim class is their favorite

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Helping me make frosting is THE BEST THING EVAAAAAR

Thursday:

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We had houseguest coming, so I cleaned while the kids had a lazy day.

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Very, very lazy.

Friday:

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I found these two like this.

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Bump.

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Helping Bumpa clean our yard

Saturday:

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AHOY! BIRTHDAY AHEAD!!

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Front porch party mess

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Evan got TWO of these rockets for his birthday and they are both his favorite. Highly recommend for any kid.

Even for us, that week involved a lot of dress up. My laundry pile is sort of insane right now, but I HAVE TO FINISH MY TAXES. I HAVE TO. RIGHT NOW. NOTHING ELSE IS BEING DONE UNTIL I FINISH THEM.

I figure if I type that enough times I might actually do it. Anyone want to barter tax prep services for a photo shoot next year? Or you can come punch me repeatedly in the face. Or how about a kid? I will give you this next baby if you agree to do my taxes forever. (Not really, but it’s tempting. I’m really, really overwhelmed.)

p.s. It is supposed to be 65 degrees tomorrow and I will probably take the kids to the beach. Because that’s how we roll in New England.

p.p.s. My birthday is Thursday. I’m getting my teeth cleaned.

A Western Massachusetts Fairy Tale (With An Appearance by Mo Willems)

Monday, July 15th, 2013

I love people. I don’t often feel that way – and the news from the last few weeks has made it more of an act of willpower than an easy truth – but after our experience on Saturday my faith is restored. There are plenty of people who are good and kind and willing to go above and beyond to help others, and it was sheer luck those are the people who I ran into at The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art.

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Giant hallway art

We are huge, huge Mo Willems fans in our house. It wasn’t love at first sight (I was a little baffled by Knuffle Bunny the first time I read it and also super annoyed no one could tell me if the “K” was silent*) but once Evan and then Caroline were old enough to help choose our bedtime reading selections Mo quickly became a favorite. We have all three Knuffle Bunnies and several Pigeon books at home, and almost always include at least one Mo Willems in our library picks. When I heard he was going to be at the Eric Carle Museum on one of our rare weekends home (we missed the last one) I knew we had to make the drive.

E was working, as usual, so I packed up and we made the 90 minute drive early Saturday, getting to the museum seconds before they opened the doors at 10 am. Right as we hit the ticket counter I realized my wallet wasn’t in my bag. It was one of those moments where you can literally feel the universe split into two separate paths – one where I was smart and double-checked my bag before I left home or stopped for gas in town or went through the drive thru for a coffee 10 minutes from home and realized my mistake, and one where I was and idiot there in Massachusetts, without my money or credit cards or debit card or driver’s license or military ID or anything. I didn’t have anything. Idiot.

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Can you believe this idiot?!

The woman greeting people at the door saw me rummaging frantically through my bag and asked if I was OK. I told her my wallet wasn’t in my camera bag but I might have it in the car. I grabbed the kids and we ran back out, even though I knew it was pointless. I knew exactly where my wallet was: on the end table next to my laptop where I left it after I used my credit card online the night before. Standing next to the car with two kids staring at me I made another universe-splitting decision. Instead of calling the day a wash and heading for home, I headed back into the museum.

I didn’t have much of a plan at that point. I vaguely thought maybe they would accept a business card and an IOU for the admission fee (which wasn’t very much but was more than the nothing I had) and we could just forgo buying the big pile of books I had promised the kids from the gift shop. We had one book from home, so at least we could still get SOMETHING signed. Or maybe they could just give me one of the line passes they were handing out – I could make it home and back in 3 hours, which was still in time for the 2 pm signing but I was worried they would run out of tickets. But before I could even offer one of those as an option, the lady who had asked if I was OK was standing next to me, giving my kids pigeon tattoos and reassuring me we could figure something out.

I used to be the kid who cried in class any time a teacher even LOOKED at me harshly, so it’s not surprising I cried while I explained we were far from our house and I didn’t know anyone in Massachusetts and my husband was working and I just didn’t want to let the kids down so…. The lady, Rebecca, said they would be happy to take a credit card over the phone if there was someone I could call. Thank God my mother picked up on the 5th ring and said of COURSE she’d cover my admission. Rebecca suggested they write down the number and she would put it in a safe place so I could use it later in the gift shop to buy our books and my mom agreed. Mom asked if I was going to be able to get home without money – did I have enough gas? – and I assured her I could make it home (and I did, with 1/8th of a tank left). So lucky.

After handling everything for me smoothly and calmly and in the very kindest way possible, Rebecca handed me two free lunch coupons, good for one item from the food truck outside and said if I needed drinks she would buy us some. She explained now that I was inside all the events and crafts were free and she would be there all day and I should feel free to come find her if I needed anything, so I was just supposed to go and have a good time. And we did. We had an amazing time.

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Pigeon tattoo! I have one too.

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When I went to the book store to buy our books, I was nervous about explaining my credit-card-on-a-piece-of-paper-somewhere-behind-the-counter to the cashier, but as soon as I opened my mouth and said “I, uh…” she knew who I was and rang it up no problem (Mom, I’m paying you back ASAP). While the kids and I were playing, another staffer came up and asked if I had gotten everything worked out, then offered me cash for the drive home, since if she was traveling with kids she’d be nervous in my situation (I declined, but it was an amazing offer). When I went to get our 2 free lunch items, the girl in the truck gave us hot dogs and chips and drinks. Everyone else we talked to the entire day was kind and helpful and friendly and just…amazing. I don’t know if Rebecca got the entire staff together at some point and said “See that woman with the two ginger kids? She’s kind of an idiot, so be extra nice to her” or if everyone in Amherst, Massachusetts is just inherently a good person, but it felt like we were getting extra special treatment. I mean, we WERE getting special treatment. Everyone else had to bring their monies to get in.

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After we spent 4 hours enjoying the yard and crafts and movies and pigeon wall and chalk and library and story time and the museum galleries, we stood in the very first general admission line to get our book(sssss) signed.  It went quickly and was beautifully organized but the kids were kind of at the end of their ropes (Evan: I want to go HOOOOME. Caroline: I don’ wanna go HOOOOOOOME.) and I had used up all my threats and bribes and promises and was just hoping to get out without embarrassing myself even more than I already had. But we got up to where we could see Mo and the kids first perked up and then totally flipped out that he was RIGHT THERE! He looks like the dad from Knuffle Bunny! Mo! It’s MO! My friend MO! When it was our turn, someone took my camera to snap pictures, Rebecca opened all our books to the best signing page, and Mo drew a little picture in every one of our books. The kids watched him draw and shouted “Dinosaur!” or “Piggie!” and finally “PIGEON! IT’S THE PIGEON!!” I just stood there grinning like an idiot. It was great.

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All these are a little out of focus (the camera was on auto because I handed it to someone else and it focused on the sculpture in the background) but the kids look so happy I don’t even care.

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As we were leaving, I stopped by to thank Rebecca (who I think might be the Director of Development based on some website stalking, but I can’t be sure – I never got her last name) for being so helpful and saving our day. You know what she said to me? “You’re such a good mom.” The person who forgot her wallet, cried at the ticket booth, couldn’t stop her children from running and being loud, hissed at and threatened them in line, and was now a big, sweaty, exhausted mess. A good mom. Then she hugged me.

I cried in the car on the way home, but not because I was an idiot but because my faith in humanity had been renewed. It was a really awesome day.

I’m going to write a more concise, less rambling version of this and send it to the email addresses listed on The Carle’s website, since I’m not sure who to thank. And when I get my pennies from last month’s blog advertising I’m going to be buying a membership to show my support (the museum is a non-profit who relies on memberships and donations). Plus I’ll be buying the next year’s worth of birthday and Christmas gifts for everyone I know from their gift shop. It’s one of those instances when Pay It Forward doesn’t seem like enough, but I’m sure going to try.

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#HappyBirthdayPigeon!

*In the cute little animated film version, it was pronounced “Nuffle”, which made me very happy.

Take Me Out To The Ball Game

Friday, June 28th, 2013

Right before the kids and I took off for our road trip, I got an email that said “Boston Red Sox Invite You to a Game at Fenway Park” in the subject line. I almost, almost deleted it, since obviously it must be spam. I am so very glad I didn’t.

I have no idea how I ended up on a list of “thought leaders” in New England, but because they stumbled over my blog somehow the marketing department for the Red Sox invited me and my family up to the park for a tour, a game and a focus group to talk about what would make us more likely to come back.

The whole thing was so professional, I almost cringe at the fact I even there. I wore flip flops and brought my four year old. No one else had their kid there (I asked! They said beforehand it was OK!) and he was kind of…a four year old. There was an agenda and a white board and notepads.  It was a small group. There was a seat marked with my name and blog name on a printed and branded place marker. They had individual bottles of Perrier for us while we chatted about family events at Fenway and their Kid Nation program. Perrier is way above my class level. It was 90 degrees and my Spanx were the only thing keeping me from literally melting into a puddle on the floor, but there I was, unable to shut up. I ramble when I’m nervous (shocking, I’m sure) and in the moment my brain seemed to think all my ideas were BRILLIANT. Gah. Gaaaaaaaaah.

Luckily I must not have totally embarrassed myself, since they sent a follow up email and invited us back to the Futures at Fenway event coming up in July. At the focus group we discussed in detail what sort of things we’d like to see at a family day event…and then POOF! Turns out that event is ALREADY SCHEDULED. And has been for the past eight years. I probably should have known about that already. Oops?

The real best part of the whole thing was the ballpark tour. I’m not the world’s greatest Red Sox fan (and if you are, feel free to hate me for being invited to this thing when you weren’t), but I am a huge nut about history and Fenway is all about history. Getting to walk around the park when it was empty, visit all the fancy and private levels, see the framed jerseys going all the way back to the very first one with actual red socks printed on it…it was amazing. Especially because I got to bring E and Evan. I choked up a little just editing my photos from the day – they don’t get to spend a lot of time together doing father-son stuff, but what can be a better memory than Evan’s first trip to Fenway? Magical, for real.

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Look at that empty, empty field!

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There are vintage-style and exposed brick signs everywhere in the park. I love the way they make it FEEL like a historic place.

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Some of the fancy memorabilia in the uber-swanky season ticket holder club.

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So, so, so, SO many food choices in the park.

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I had to bribe him with one of those smooshed pennies to sit next to Wally.

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The view from on the field.

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Discussing batting practice.

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Hello Rockies. Sorry not sorry you lost this game!

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Watching the actual game (we only got to stay a few innings)

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Delivered right to my seat, hot and delicious

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I’m a little obsessed with the way the light-up boards for the scores and stats all use green backgrounds, so they match the rest of the stadium. Plus the graphics have fake drop-shadows, so they look just like the old hand-operated score board (That they still use! There are guys in there!)

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PACKED stadium on a Tuesday night!

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Goodnight Fenway! See you again soon!

Surviving Nemo

Thursday, February 7th, 2013

We’re expecting a little snow in New England, and by a little snow I mean enough snow that they’ve already started canceling stuff in preparation for Winter Storm Nemo*. You have to remember I live in Connecticut, not Northern Virginia, so snow on its own isn’t something anyone cares about. We got 2 inches on Tuesday and the news called it “no accumulation”. In NoVa, they would have dismissed school early and shut down the government.

I went to elementary and middle school in Massachusetts, where a foot of snow was barely enough to get a 2 hour delay. In the 6th grade, I composed the following poem and wrote it on the chalkboard of my history class the day before a huge storm:

Tomorrow when the blizzard hits,
We at the school shall meet.
For we all know, it never snows
On Dorothy Swanbeck’s street.

(For the record, I Googled to see if I could possibly be remembering that correctly and Ms. Swanbeck totally was the school superintendent back then. I don’t remember a single teacher’s name from that year, but I’ll remember her’s forever.)

We did indeed meet at the school the next day.

I’m no stranger to New England snow storms, is what I’m saying. I’m also lucky enough to live in a town with its own utility company, which means we don’t have to rely on the horribly unreliable Connecticut Light & Power to keep the lights and heat on. (My power company, Norwich Public Utilities, has been known to tweet exact locations and numbers of outages with updates on power restoration in the middle of a hurricane. I heart them.) I’m optimistic this will be an adventure instead of a nightmare and viewing the whole thing in a very Little House In The Big Woods manner – WWCID? (What Would Caroline Ingalls Do?) Stock up on firewood! Get out the candles! Find extra blankets! Get out my knitting! Make sure I have plenty of hot chocolate and peppermint schnapps!

The only thing making me a teeny tiny bit nervous is E’s crazy work schedule. He doesn’t get any days off for another…uh…forever, basically, so all house issues and snow-removal issues are my problem. He wrote down directions for how to use the snow blower, but they might as well be in Greek, plus also it would mean leaving the kids alone in the house so maybe not the best idea. Let’s just hope things melt and/or he gets home by school on Tuesday morning.

Anyway! *clap-clap* As of right now it’s not snowing, raining, icing or sleeting. The kids are tired from a busy day at school so we’ll have an easy bedtime tonight. I’m going to make a big bowl of popcorn and top it with Parmesan cheese for dinner, followed by a handful of chocolate caramels oops, those are gone. They were delicious. We have all our snow gear ready and I’m as prepared as I can be. This is not the first time it has ever snowed in Connecticut and I doubt it will be the last. My camera battery and my iPhone are charged, so I will Instagram the crap out of very important news like “Look! Snow!” and “ZOMG! More snow!”  BRING IT, NEMO.

*While I was writing this I got a text message that Ledyard Public Schools are already cancelled, which mean no preschool for Evan. Also, SRSLY, they named the storm Nemo, because a tropical fish with a gimpy fin is MY first thought when I picture a historic blizzard.

Friday morning update 8:51 am: It’s snowing! It started about an hour ago but has slowed down. We’re not supposed to get the real accumulation until tonight. Also, E has to go to work today but should be home before the worst of it hits so I won’t need to do the snow blowing on my own. You KNOW things look dire when the US Navy says “You guys can just stay home”. 

Wordless Wednesday: Buttonwood Farms Corn Maze Night

Wednesday, October 10th, 2012

buttonwood farms corn maze 2012

buttonwood farms corn maze 2012

buttonwood farms corn maze 2012

buttonwood farms corn maze 2012

buttonwood farms corn maze 2012

buttonwood farms corn maze 2012

buttonwood farms corn maze 2012

buttonwood farms corn maze 2012

buttonwood farms corn maze 2012

buttonwood farms corn maze 2012

buttonwood farms corn maze 2012

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