Ellie: “Gwen, shut up.”
Me: “Ellie! That’s not nice. Set a better example for your sister.”
Ellie: “OK; Gwen, please shut up!”
Illustration, photography, and all-around geekery
Ellie: “Gwen, shut up.”
Me: “Ellie! That’s not nice. Set a better example for your sister.”
Ellie: “OK; Gwen, please shut up!”
It’s finally summer, and I am soaking it up. I may have gone a teensy bit overboard with early summer plans (I blame being cooped up in pandemiclandia for the last two years) so the next few weeks are pretty booked.
We celebrated the end of the school year with a family vacation in Bar Harbor. Our hotel was right on the water and within walking distance to basically everything except Acadia. I didn’t make specific plans, which kept things laid back and gave me time to paint and do puzzles and unwind. I treated myself to a facial and a pedicure at the hotel spa, and the kids enjoyed the heated pool (even if it was only 60 degrees outside, yikes 😱). We saw our first movie in a theater since the start of the pandemic (Bob’s Burgers, funny!) and ate MDI ice cream every night. I think this is going to be a yearly tradition; being on the coast is rejuvenating.
Later this week, the kids and Mom and I are road-tripping to upstate New York to visit with family. (Tim opted to stay home and keep the pets company — he wasn’t thrilled about the idea of the 12-hour drive one way, can’t imagine why! 😜) We’ll spend the 4th in New York, then make our way home with a few days to spare before shipping the kids off to camp for a week.
After that, I’m taking two weeks to do a “trial” –basically a long test — for a role change at work. This role change has been taking up far too much of my brain space for too long; it will be nice to see it through.
Ironically, all of this happens *before* my three-month sabbatical…during which I have nothing scheduled. 😂 I expect there will be lots of painting and lake time, and maybe we’ll try to squeeze in a trip to PEI now that the border is open.
Happy Father’s Day to the guy who matched me diaper for diaper, bottle for bottle, and late night for late night. Now you’re the stay-at-home dad, coordinator of appointments, lessons, and lunch boxes. I couldn’t ask for a better partner, and our kids are lucky to have you as an example of what a great dad should be. <3 🙂
Wrapping up a successful Christmas; Santa was good to us this year. He seems to know how much we enjoy LEGOs, but he also came through with new card/dice games and expansions for old favorites, and sleds for outdoor fun.
We’re having quite the Classic New England Winter (TM) so far; lots of snow, regular pristine, white coatings of the stuff, which means a fair amount of plowing and shoveling and sending the kids outside dressed like waddling, hot-pink-and-purple marshmallows. In an effort to ward off the winter blahs, I’ve strung lights up to the point where our living room can probably be seen from space.
I scheduled an extra-long winter vacation, without realizing it would be almost as long as my summer break was. Not that I’m complaining, but I’m at a bit of a loss since I didn’t have any plans save for 1) surviving the holidays and 2) catching up on a backlog of fanfic reading. With the first one out of the way, I intend to start on the second, with a bit of writing of my own thrown in for good measure.
This Halloween was a blur, as we spent the first half of the day driving back from the wedding. We’d stopped in Freeport overnight, but that meant 3.5 hours of driving with two wound-up kids and two tired parents.
I considered skipping trick-or-treating this year — I think the kids would have been OK with that — but after spending the majority of the day cooped up in the car, it was a relief to walk around and stretch my legs. After we got home, I told the kids to put on some costumes from their costume stash and we were off for the candy hunt.
Gwen went as a ladybug (note the pants are inside-out and backwards, a personal best), and Ellie went through a few costume changes before she settled on the above, claiming she was a maid.
Can’t tell they dressed themselves, can ya? 😉
My brother, Julian, and his fiancée, Julie, have been together for seven years, and last weekend, after months of planning and preparation, they made it official.
Our family was in the wedding party; the girls were flower girls, I was a bridesmaid, and Tim was a groomsman. I told everyone to expect pictures, because this is the nicest you will ever see my family dressed up. Ever. We aren’t annual-portrait people–hell, we’re barely print-and-frame-the-Instagrams people–but we looked pretty great:
I’m so happy for my brother and his new wife, but selfishly, I’m also happy for me, because I get a sister! And I couldn’t ask for a better one. 🙂
The wedding was lovely, and the reception was a joyous party. Much of our extended family made the trip to upstate New York, so we saw relatives I haven’t seen in years. I was sore from dancing for days afterward.
This 31-year-old “kid” has grown into one of the sweetest, funniest people I know. I am so glad he’s found happiness with Julie. Here’s to the rest of your lives, J’s!
The end of a season is always bittersweet. On one hand, I adore fall and all the wonderful things that come with it; on the other, it feels like summer flew by. The hottest days were relatively few and far between up here in the north, there was not nearly enough lake time, and I could have taken a few more weeks’ vacation and not felt the pull of work.
The kids are clinging, driving both their father and me nuts, so it must be time for them to go back to school. Tomorrow we’ll put them on the bus and restart the school-year routines. I feel entirely unprepared and frazzled. I may be in a bit of denial, particularly with regards to Gwen, who turns five in two days. So many mixed emotions!
September also begins a three-month-long string of events that will probably make the rest of the year fly by. There are work trips planned to British Columbia and Spain, my brother’s wedding, more home improvements, birthdays, and holidays.
It was a good summer, a solid summer. Looking back on these photos and thinking about everything we’ve done, it’s clear we made some new memories. Bring it on, autumn. We’re ready for you!
We made this trip last year with a minimum of fuss, and once again, it went off without a hitch. I think we might be getting the hang of this traveling-with-kids thing, or maybe we’re just lucky. iPads and a portable DVD player for the win! We took our time on the drive down, leaving early in the morning. Someone (cough ELLIE cough) was awake at 5 a.m., so we had a head start.
After crossing into Massachusetts, we stopped for dinner with long-time friends Sarah and Tim and their kids, which gave Ellie and Gwen a chance to run around and play with Toys That Are Not Theirs And Are Therefore Fascinating.
I’ll admit, I came home feeling pretty bummed that we don’t hang out with most of our friends on a regular basis. Like I said in my previous post, we only see each other once or twice a year, and I miss them! I love Maine, and I even love living in the country, but my friends and family in the south make a strong case for migration.
My brother and his fiancée let us take over their apartment for the weekend. We didn’t get as much time with them as I would have liked because they were away that weekend, too, but we’ll get plenty of face time at their wedding in October (!)
Sunday meant Comic Con! It was my first con. The kids were excited at the numerous costumes (“Pikachu! Mulder! Scully! Wonder Woman! Batman!”), and they met one of the artists who works on the My Little Pony comics. We let them pick out a couple prints of favorite cartoon characters for their room.
But I had other priorities; I was there to meet Gillian Anderson, which meant standing in long-ass lines while Tim went exploring with the kids. Next time we do a con, I’ll plan to stay at least two days to soak it all in.
I paid for an autograph and a photo op, because why not? I have no regrets, but I think I’ll skip the celebrity extras next time (unless David Duchovny is also there, in which case, gimme). Meeting her at Streetcar was more intimate, less rushed, and she seemed more relaxed. It was still a cool experience, though, and Ellie was thrilled to join me for a photo with “Scully”. Ellie told her the X-Files was one of her favorite shows, which was cute, and GA asked, “Doesn’t it scare you???” Ellie shook her head, of course, and then we posed for the picture.
Gillian’s Q & A panel was amusing. She was feeling pretty snarky, apparently, and gave the moderator hell. She swore, apologized for swearing, and then kept swearing anyway. She talked a bit about being a mom, having “mom guilt”, balancing work life and parenthood — all things I can identify with. She recounted some fun moments from filming The X-Files last summer. It was neat to finally be in the live audience instead of watching from a shaky iPhone video on Tumblr.
After the fangirling, I went looking for my friend and former high-school roommate Sheryl, of Noadi’s Art fame. She is a ridiculously talented sculptor and painter, and you can see how much effort she’s put into building her business. I’m commissioning a Scully painting from her “kickass women” series whenever she’s available.
We headed home because the kids were getting grumpy and it was hot and my signed print got a spot, which soured my mood for the afternoon. Dinner at West on Centre cheered me up a bit, though, as did laying like a beached whale in an air-conditioned bedroom for several hours.
The next day, we went to Assembly Square and Legoland. We were able to get our tickets for cheap online, and the facility wasn’t crowded, so they let us in early. The kids played, tried the rides, and took the “Master Builder” class. It was blissfully cool and relatively quiet, which was a nice change from the swarm of people at the con.
We also visited with our friend Amanda and her new baby boy. Tim and I are out of the baby-making game, but there’s nothing like holding someone else’s adorable four-month-old to get my ovaries all whiny and mopey. Sorry, ovaries, you’re out of luck.
Amanda and her S.O. co-run a new restaurant, so we had tasty pizza for dinner. If you’re in the Malden area and need a bite to eat, try Sillari’s Pizza. We over-ordered and took home a leftover cheese pizza, which was promptly devoured by the adults for breakfast the next morning.
After one more night in Boston, we headed northward, promising the kids a stop at Target to get the LEGO sets we couldn’t find at Legoland. When we finally got home and staggered from our tiny car like road-weary zombies, we were coerced by small children into building said LEGO sets until our fingers were sore and our eyes were red. Not a terrible way to end a long weekend, right?
We’ve had a jam-packed few weeks! I’ve been on vacation since the beginning of August, and have spent much of that time outside with the kids, playing Pokémon Go and supervising at the lake or the park. In the past I planned activities and set goals (because vacations are all about goal-setting, duh), but this year I’m winging it. I haven’t done much creating, although I’ve taken many photos while out and about.
We just returned from a few days in Boston, where we managed to fit in all sorts of fun, visiting with friends, hanging out at Comic Con, and setting the kids loose on Legoland. The whole trip left me feeling a bit nostalgic and melancholy, even though we had fun; there are so many people I only see for a few hours each year, and I miss them!
I’ll write more about everything once things settle down; in the meantime, here’s a sneak-peek of our adventures:
Yesterday, we put our kitty Nala to sleep.
Tim and I adopted her 14 years ago at the Old Town Animal Orphanage. We liked to say that she adopted us; Tim was standing back-to the wall of animal crates when she reached out her paw and patted him on the shoulder. “Look at me! I’m the best one!” And she was.
She was our first baby, and we were anxious new-cat parents. Was she eating and drinking enough? Was that a cough or a hairball? We lived in a tiny loft apartment, and we were paranoid she’d fall from the loft railing.
She used to drink water by dipping her paws into her dish and licking them off, which would have been fine if we hadn’t used super-tough clumping cat litter. During her first week at home, we spent a lot of time fretting and prying caked litter from between her toes.
Before we had the kids, she’d sleep in our bed, curled around my head. She’d wake me by licking my eyebrows and purring into my hair. We adopted another cat, Stitch, a few months later, and she and Nala became fast friends. They were “our girls” long before we had human girls.
Having had pets all my life, I’m no stranger to this cycle, but it was harder than I expected to see her go. Blood work revealed she’d been sick for a long time, unbeknownst to us; I hate to think we prolonged her suffering.
But it is what it is, and at least she’s not suffering anymore. Sleep well, Nala-boo.