Wednesday, August 31, 2011

drumlin farm

I took the kids to Drumlin Farm in Lexington with a library pass, so it was only a dollar or two for the day. A friend recommended it to me and it really was perfect for them. We just wandered around the working farm and looked at chickens and horses and sheep and cows. Anna loved weighing and sorting the pretend eggs. We went back twice. The kids also liked watching the sleeping piglets. They were both very quiet and for the rest of the day Anna would say, "Shhh Mama! The piggies are sleeping!"

Monday, August 29, 2011

anna says...

"I'm being a lot patient now, Mommy"

"What a cool family we have!"

"Sam! Sam!" (whenever she's calling for Sam, she uses his first name, just like I do when I'm calling for him :)

"Next time I ________, I will be more careful." When she's been scolded for something, like throwing her chalk off the balcony onto the sidewalk, for instance.

"I'm just being calm right now"

Speaking to Daddy: "Sam, if you will let me be, I will try... [looks around]... the fan." We had read Green Eggs and Ham before bed the previous night.

Sunday, August 21, 2011


After reading Janssen's recommendation of Perfect Square by Michael Hall, I ordered it from my library. According to Janssen, who's in the know about these things having been a children's librarian before the birth of her daughter, this book is getting some Caldecott buzz. I've been ordering Caldecott winners and honor books to read with Anna this year. Not only is the art good, but usually the stories in Caldecott's are better than average, and I'd much rather Anna get attached to a good book, like, say, Knuffle Bunny, or Hush!, than a dumb one like Baby Donald Makes a Snow Friend (so glad we're over that one...).

But all of that is beside the point. After one reading of Perfect Square, Anna was hooked and we read it over and over again. In the book, the perfect (and happy) square one day gets cut into pieces. With those pieces it makes itself into a fountain. On successive days, it gets ripped, crumpled, and shattered and makes itself into something new each day.

So one Sunday afternoon, I got out some red construction paper. First we made it into a square.

Then, I gave Anna some scissors, crayons, hole punches, and a stapler and let her go at it. At first she needed a little guidance on what to do to the square, but eventually found her groove and had lots of fun.

When it looked like she was done, we gathered up every single piece of the square, including all the hole punches, and tried them out in various positions. When Anna came up with one she liked, I put it on a piece of white paper. A few globs of glue stick (and an outfit change) later...

...and we had a fish! He stayed on our fridge till we moved.

This was a perfect activity for her age and it was fun to combine our reading and crafting. As a kid, we did lots of activities inspired by books, from building forts and making up games, to sewing clothes and writing our own stories. I loved that and hope our children will too.

Monday, August 15, 2011


We did it. We moved to Cambridge. We survived the moving van puzzle, bruised legs and sore bodies, a traffic ticket, flooding our bathroom and the one below us, finals and papers, breaking dishes, disoriented children, not having enough quarters to do laundry, driving the wrong direction on a one-way road, and lots of other adventures. But now the fridge and pantry are stocked, the kids room is pretty much done, and there are just a few lingering boxes waiting for Sam to finish his first semester of school tomorrow before he moves them to storage.

We are so happy.

Friday, August 12, 2011

the 5 best years

It wasn't until half-way through the day on Friday that I realized it was our 5th wedding anniversary. Yay for us! Sam is my best friend, confidant, cheering section, sounding board, back-up, hero, love of my life.

In passing this week, I mentioned something about our grandchildren, and it hit me. I'm going to spend the rest of my life with this man. We will work and laugh and love and pray and grow old-- together-- a thought that made my stomach jump with delight.

Happy Anniversay Sam! I love you!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

happy 235th birthday america!

We had a super fun 4th of July weekend. We're just a little late in reporting so :)

On the 2nd, we went swimming and then walked through the path behind our apartments to NARA park where Acton was throwing it's big holiday party. They had really yummy free hot dogs and we brought along some chips and watermelon for dinner.

We chatted with some friends from church who live in our town and wandered around the little carnival area they had. Then we walked back home and bathed the kids and put them in jammies.

The US Air Force band from our area played all the traditional 4th songs, some show tunes, and of course this one since it's Boston. It was fun to watch Levi as he experienced fireworks for the first time after the show. As we herded out with everyone through the narrow path in the woods, we remarked that we'd never been in such a large mass of people moving all to the same place and that it was pretty surreal.

The third was church of course. Anna wore her patriotic dress from Grandma Becky and we got so many comments on how adorable she was, especially with her "flag bows" from Kathy. (Thanks to both of you!) After nap time we made this flag cake and sang happy birthday to America and blew out candles, much to Anna's delight.

(By the way, I made that red shirt out of two tank tops I got for $1.50 each at Target and it's one of my new favorite tops. I also made my skirt- without a pattern = not recommended- for the family pictures we took in April {I should probably post those...} and although it turned out a little funky, it looks just how I'd hoped when I wear it. Hooray for sewing success!)

For the 4th, I really wanted to go downtown and see the Boston Pops and the fireworks over the river. With Sam's internship and work schedule, we might not actually be in Boston for the 4th again, so I was anxious to do it this year. Sam humored me and we left after breakfast. We parked at the end of the line and took the train downtown. Once we got there we found out you couldn't see the fireworks from the lawn in front of the Hatch Shell where the Pops play (which was never mentioned on the website....grr) so we found a spot on The Esplanade under a tree where we could see a screen showing the concert as well as the fireworks barge in the river. We staked out a large spot with our blankets and strollers and wished we hadn't come so early :)

We ate some lunch there and then wandered over to Boston Common where we listened to music, watched the swan boats and played on the playground. The day was really hot and humid though, and the splash pad just looked too good to resist, so after snapping this picture of the dress I made for Anna from one of Sam's old shirts...

(I made the under-arm waaay too small, so if we ever have another girl, it'll make a cute 2T dress)

...we stripped Anna down to her undies and Levi to his diaper and let them at it. Levi, who we woke up from a nap to play, wasn't too excited about and mostly stayed on the edges by mom splashing his hands in little puddles, but Anna was simply giddy and raced in and out of the water.

Once playtime was done, we changed the kids into dry clothes and got some ice cream at the PACKED McDonald's across the street from the park and waited forever for the bathroom so we wouldn't have to use the port-a-potties on the Esplanade. But, we did enjoy the air conditioning for a while :)

We walked back to our spot and I took Levi for a walk hoping he might fall asleep again while Sam did some coloring with Anna. The Esplanade was starting to fill up a little more, and the kids were getting tired, so this period of time is a bit of blur, but eventually we headed back up to McDonald's for some dinner and some more AC before going back to the splash pad/playground to play. We had to be back on the Esplanade by 8 PM when they closed the bridges so we left around 7 and followed the crowd out there. By the time we got back to our seats, every little piece of grass was covered. Someone had even squeezed in the 2 ft patch of dirt between our blanket and the back of a bench

thousands of people....

proof we brought Levi, and that he was exhausted

our neighbors under the tree gave Anna this star necklace

have I mentioned yet how much I love her hair?

Pretty soon though, the concert started and we had fun dancing to the music. The kids were absolutely worn out by this time, and alternated between crazy happiness, meltdowns, and sprawling with their blankets. Here's what I mean:

I eventually put Levi in his stroller and he fell asleep in the middle of the cannon-booming 1812 Overture. Anna decided she needed to use the potty right as Neil Diamond's America started playing, but I managed a few fist pumps while tip-toeing through the crowd praying Anna wouldn't tinkle on anyone.

Finally the fireworks show started and it was, hands down, the best I have ever seen. They had all sorts of kinds I'd never seen before, and many had multiple effects like changing colors or bursting in different places. Some of my favorites were shot off during "Fireflies" and were these little golden flares that floated up and down and looked like they were flying. And of course they played Katy Perry, like every other fireworks show in the universe this year. Right in the middle of the show, Anna, amazingly, fell asleep.

After the show we got the kids in the strollers and found out how wrong we'd been about the large crowds on Saturday night. The number of people there was insane. We finally made it to the train station to find a giant mass of people at the door. We knew we'd never get to the front of a huge crowd, so we walked over the bridge to the Kendall station by MIT. There, we hopped on the elevator and jumped straight to the front of the line, but we still waited through 2 trains and a conductor forced everyone else to wait while we got on with the strollers.

We made it home around 1:30 AM, all exhausted and Sam having to go to school in the morning, but as I thanked him profusely for coming with me, I could honestly say I was glad we did it.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


We love our little goofs!
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Monday, August 01, 2011

a shy ballerina

One Saturday, our local childrens museum had a "meet a real ballerina" day. There were two ballerinas from a small local company who came and showed some basic moves, and how to put on pointe shoes. They also had fairy wings and wands to let all the little girls pretend to be ballerinas and move as a corps and learn how to curtsy and also to look cute for cameras.

Anna was so excited to go. She had been wearing her "ballerina suit" every single day and watching youtube videos of ballet and asking to dance with me. So we got her dressed up and took her to the museum and the second we got in the room, she clung to me. I tried going with her to put on fairy wings, but she would have none of it. So although she said, yes, she did want to take a picture with the ballerina at the end, this was the best picture we got :)

Here are some others of Anna dressed as a ballerina and playing in the museum's ship wreck.

And of course Levi was happiest crawling up and down chairs.
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