Thursday, April 30, 2009

Ready for take-off

There's a small municipal airport in our town and on clear, sunny days like today, we like to bring a picnic lunch and go there to watch the planes arrive and depart. The girls scan the sky and try to be the first to spot an incoming plane. When they hear the unmistakable revving of an engine they watch the runways to find the taxiing plane. Today we saw 12 planes, six coming in and six going out. The sight of the twelfth plane was as exciting as the first.
As we were eating, the wind was blowing a rope against the flagpole behind our table, creating a consistent rhythm. Tori felt the sudden urge to abandon her lunch and dance to the rhythm, so she did.

We walked around the airport and took some fun pictures, including this one of the three of us.

We spent a lovely, peaceful, and free hour at the airport before going home.

Later in the afternoon Tori informed me that she was married to Beast Boy (the green faced boy) and that they had 3 babies (the frogs) named Froggy, Toady, and Lily. I don't know how she comes up with this stuff, but I'm very happy that she does. She's creative, imaginative, and is one of the funniest people I've ever known. Every family should have a Tori. She reminds me so much of her 2 aunts, my sister, Vicki, and Todd's sister, Gwen. Tori shares their exuberance, their energy, and they joy they bring to anyone who crosses their path. I feel very lucky to have all 3 of them in my life.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

For Todd

Today is my husband's birthday. In honor of him (and his English teacher mother, without whom he would not be here) I have written an ABC poem.

A glorious day is here
B ecause we are
C elebrating the birth of a

D addy. He's not just any daddy, he's an

E xceptional daddy. He is

F iercely devoted to his family.
H onesty is one Todd's greatest virtue.

I ntegrity is another that comes to mind. It is

J ustifiable to say that Todd is a

K iller chef. He can whip up anything, such as

L amb, pork, and steak. Yes, he really enjoys

M eat, especially when cooked on the grill.

N ow you may wonder on

O ccasion, maybe you even

P onder - what other

Q ualities do I admire about Todd? He is

R esourceful. He can fix things with duct tape.

S ometimes he uses his power

T ools and completely and

U tterly remodels entire rooms,

V irtually transforming them into

W orks of art. He hasn't needed to have an

X ray recently.

Y ay!

Z ippedooda, zippededay! Today is, indeed, a wonderful day!

Happy birthday to my wonderful, brilliant, honorable, dashing, witty, handy, hardworking, dedicated husband.
****It's now 4pm and it was just brought to my attention that I forgot "G". Feel free to write your own sentence for "G". Sorry Todd!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

The sleepover

Bryn and one of her neighborhood friends had been conspiring to have a sleepover for quite some time. Apparently, so had Jacey and another neighborhood friend. Since last week was April vacation, and I didn't want any hurt feelings, I told my girls they could invite all 5 of their best friends for a pizza party & sleepover. This was their first one (and mine, too. Since my Dad was Boston cop who worked the midnight shift, we never had anyone sleep over because he needed to sleep for a few hours after dinner)and they were ecstatic! They made a long list of activities for the night which included a fashion show, silly make overs, karaoke, and "pull an all nighter".
They arrived at 5:00 and the squealing and giggling began at 5:01. They raced upstairs to Jacey's room to claim their sleeping spot. I had moved the furniture out of her room earlier in the day to make room for everyone. Once they unrolled their sleeping bags, they ate pizza and apples for dinner. They decided to do the makeovers before dessert. They painted their faces with neon pink and blue make up, and smeared various shades of red glitter goo all over themselves. They scrubbed their faces before eating Klondike Bars for dessert. Next on the agenda was karaoke. One of the girls brought a karaoke machine and one CD. They took turns singing the same song over and over and over again. Todd came down from our room where he was hiding while watching the Bruins game. He asked what the awful noise was in the living room and I told him that it was the girls' singing. He quickly grabbed himself a fresh drink and scurried back upstairs to his retreat. After more silliness, the girls brushed their teeth before settling down to watch a movie. After the movie, the pack moved upstairs to "sleep". I made sure they were all settled, closed the shade, and shut the door. Before I took a single step away from J's room I heard the eruption of laughter coming from the other side of the door. Before their friends arrived, I told my girls that I really wanted them to try and be calm and on their way to sleep at midnight. My girls go to bed very early, so I thought that by midnight,they would be sound asleep. I underestimated the power of the pack. They played "would you rather" and asked each other questions such as, "would you rather have poison ivy between every finger and toe, or all over your butt?" More giggling. They bounded down the stairs for water, they (at least some of them) jumped off Jacey's bed, they rearranged the layout of the sleeping bags, and giggled some more. Midnight came and went and the chatter continued. I went into the room a few times to try and quiet them to no avail. I went to bed at 1am, but not to sleep. The noise level down the hall continued to rise. At 1:45, I went into Jacey's room one last time and practically begged them to go to sleep. I don't know if I fell asleep first or they did, but the house was finally quiet. When I came downstairs in the morning, all nine girls were sitting together, huddled under blankets, watching TV. They ate cereal for breakfast while waiting for their moms to pick them up. As exhausting, chaotic, and loud as they event was, hearing sentences like, "this was the best sleepover of my life" and "I wish we were all sisters" was well worth the sleep deprivation.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Sunday night with the Food Network

The girls and I love watching the "Food Network Challenge" on Sunday nights, especially when the challenge involves cake baking. We have seen the Ultimate Wedding Cake Challenge, the Mystery Client Challenge, and the Extreme Cake Challenge as well as many, many others. For the last 2 weeks we have been watching an elimination challenge featuring 6 amazing cake artists. Each week a baker is voted off. Our favorite of all time, Bronwen Weber, has managed to hang on. She's so talented and just as cute as a button. Though I do love watching the artists show off their flower sculpting and fondant rolling skills, the real reason I love the challenges so much is that my freshly-showered girls gather their pillows and pile on my bed with me. They know all the designers, have become well versed in cake decorating lingo, and have very differing opinions as to what makes a cake spectacular. Some like clean lines and geometric shapes, while others like the traditional butter cream flowers and piping. This week's episode was particularly great and Bronwen made it through again. Devin fell asleep about half way through, cuddled up close to her biggest sister. When it was over, they slithered their worn out bodies off my bed and dragged their pillows down the hall to go to bed. I hope they dreamed of royal icing roses and chocolate glazed hearts.
Todd spent the entire weekend (except for 8:00pm to 10:30pm on Saturday when the Bruins kicked butt!!) remodeling the downstairs bathroom. He painted, installed a new floor, medicine cabinet, and light, put bead board on the walls, and finished with lovely trim. We did not replace the toilet, sink, and bath tub so we picked a paint color that we hoped would make their peach color more tolerable. I am very pleasantly surprised to say that not only are they tolerable, but they are beautiful with the paint color. Somehow, the in-your-face shade of peach that was garish with the white walls is now subdued and spa like with the cherry laminate floor and the dark grey wall color and white bead board. Jacey helped Todd pick out the floor and also picked out the new shower curtain. Three cheers for my do it all hubby! He cooks, too!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Got tea?

The pictures say it all. Tori, Devin, and I went to Boston today for our first anti big government protest. Tori had a blast. She ran all around the Boston Common and played on the gnarly tree roots of the gorgeous old trees the dot the Common. Devin had a good time, too, but she was a little shy. She (and Tori) attracted lots of attention because of their T shirts and their signs and many people complemented them and took their picture. Tori ate it up, but Devin was less then thrilled. We hung back from the big crowd, found a grassy spot, propped up our signs, and ate a picnic lunch. Though the festivities lasted throughout the day, we stayed for about 2 and a half hours before heading home.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Girls' day out

Friday was a pony tail and capri day. It was also Good Friday, so all 4 girls were home. It had been a while since we spent a full day together doing things as a family. Someone is usually at a birthday party or soccer game or swimming lesson, so we took advantage of having nothing to do. We packed water bottles and carrots and piled into the car. As Tori was buckling her seat belt, she declared, "this is a girls' day out!". Our first stop was a playground called Julia's Garden.
This beautiful playground has something for everyone - slides, swings, and climbing structures for every age and ability, hills and rocks to climb, and donkeys, llamas, goats, and deer to feed.

All that playing made us girls very hungry, so we stopped at Papa Gino's to order pizza. We had some time to kill while we waited for the pizza, so we walked along the sidewalk of the plaza to view a nearby pond. Something wonderful happened while we were there. As I was taking pictures, a very kind man asked if I wanted him to take a picture of the girls and me together. I'm always the one behind the camera, so I jumped at the opportunity to actually be in a picture with them.

After what seemed like an eternity to the kids, but what was only about 15 minutes, the pizza was ready. We inhaled our food like the animals we had just fed enjoyed a slow, leisurely lunch.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

My MOST favorite thing. Ever.

I love musicals and I have many of the soundtracks on CD. I adore the music of "Fiddler on the Roof", particularly the song "Do You Love Me?" Here's a short video of Devin performing her version. If this doesn't melt your heart, nothing will. Turn up your volume......

Best friends

When we moved to this town 7 years ago, I wasn't thinking ahead to whether or not it offered full day kindergarten. We chose wisely. Luckily, our town is one of the very few that still has half days for our little ones. Tori leaves for school in the morning with Bryn, but returns at noon. The three hours of uninterrupted play time she and Devin share is something I'll miss when Tori is in first grade next year. Devin adores Tori because she always comes up with new and exciting games to play. They flit around the house from activity to activity full of giggles. Here are a few examples of how they spend their time together.

Playing Barbies

Vets in training.

Cinderella and Ariel getting ready for the ball. Notice the Black and Decker tool bench/dressing table.

A girl can't go to the ball without her lipstick.

Polly Pocket pool party!

Feeding carrots to the Easter Bunny.

When they leave a room, they leave evidence of their antics....

Family night in the doll house.

Strawberry honey cakes and tea for the bears.

Then there's this. The playroom at the end of the day. It seems that every time they play dress-up, the "perfect" outfit is squished at the very bottom of the bin. They bend over the bin, reach into it, grab fist fulls of costumes from Halloweens and dance recitals of the past, and toss them behind them until they find just what they are looking for. Over the years, my tolerance for the kids' messes has dramatically increased. I don't care what mess they make during the day as long as they promise to clean it at night. However, when it's time to clean, I mean business. Everything has a clearly labeled container and the girls know exactly what goes where so clean up usually takes just a few minutes. Not tonight. After dinner I asked Tori and Devin to clean the playroom while I cleaned the kitchen. By the time I had finished clearing and washing the table, loading the dishwasher, and sweeping the floor, they had accomplished nothing. The combination of warm sunshine, a no school day tomorrow, and Easter caused them to be extra giddy. I resorted to the line that can only be used at Easter and Christmas, "the Easter Bunny (or Santa) isn't going to be happy that you are not cleaning". Tori replied, "Well maybe we can leave the Easter Bunny some carrots." I told her that she couldn't bribe the Easter Bunny and to start cleaning. They continued to fool around by doing things that are, quite honestly very funny to me now that they have been sleeping for the last 3 hours. Devin discovered that if she blew into the spout of her Disney Princess tea pot, the lid would pop off. After more stalling from them and yelling from me, they were told that they would not have books read to them. That's my favorite time of the day, so I hate that punishment as much as they do. When the playroom was finally clean they went upstairs to shower. Tori complained that Devin splashed water in her face. I reminded Tori that she once held her eyelids open under the full stream of the shower to rinse soap out of her eyes. We all laughed at that memory. Devin must have thought that if Mommy is laughing, she's not mad. If she's not mad, we're not punished anymore. She asked, very hopeful, "we get books tonight, right Mama?" I almost caved, but I stood firm. They went to bed and I went to Stop and Shop to buy the ultimate stress reliever...

What did moms do before Ben and Jerry?

Monday, April 6, 2009


Why is there a picture of Darth Vader at the top of this post? I'll tell you. On Saturday, Todd and I took J, B, and T to the Boston Symphony Orchestra's family concert at Symphony Hall. As is usually the case when we go to incredible events like this, Todd's Mom bought the tickets (thank you, Mom!). She, Jim, and I were originally going to take J and B, but since she's still not feeling 100% better, Todd and Tori came instead. I had never been to Symphony Hall so I couldn't wait to go. It was beautiful! The family concerts are one hour long, the perfect length for little ones. This year's theme was "dance...march". The narrator explained the differences between the beats (1,2 for marches and 1,2,3 for waltzes) and the orchestra (the FULL orchestra) played various dances and marches. We heard "On the Beautiful Blue Danube", "Aunt Marge's Waltz" from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, and "Stars and Stripes Forever", among others. We all agreed that our favorite, by far, the "The Imperial March" from Star Wars by John Williams. I glanced at Todd when the piece started, knowing that his eyes would be sparkling. I whispered to the girls that I could totally see an 8 year old Todd lying on the floor of his room, marching his Stormtroopers in pursuit of Luke Skywalker. If you know Todd, you know that he looks almost exactly the same as he did when he was a boy (except for the facial hair), so the scene was easy to imagine. We took the girls to lunch before picking up Devin from Marilyn and Jim's. She was very unhappy to see us and did not want to come home. We are very lucky that we have people to watch our girls that love them as much as Mom and Jim do. Thank you from all 6 of us!
Edited to add: After I posted this, Tori wanted to see what a Stormtrooper looked like. I found this clip on YouTube. HA!!!

Saturday, April 4, 2009


Yesterday was a dismal, rainy day. To pass the time, the girls made things. They made beautiful Easter eggs...
They made a squishy mess with shaving cream and food coloring...

We made delicious sugar cookies. OK, we "placed and baked" the cookies...

We decorated the cookies with gobs of frosting and trillions of sprinkles...

Finally, we ate the cookies....

As you can imagine, the girls had quite a sugar highafter eating their treats. To burn off some energy, they carpet skated. These are one of the greatest inventions ever. As the name implies, the kids simply strapped them over their sneakers and skated across the living room.

We had a wonderful day, but I was very happy to see the sun today.