Gallery

Christmas 2016

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.

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Halloween 2016

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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? 😉

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Wedded Blitz

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!

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Summer adventures

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!

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Boston, Summer 2016

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 am such a dork. I love it. And my kid has been blessed by Mother Gillian.

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?

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