Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Christmas 2010

Hurray! Everyone was healthy by Christmas Eve.  We had a great weekend.  It was nice to have a lot of time, there were a lot of people to see.

There was a lot of playing with new stuff and running around outside.  Milena hasn't liked winter weather from the beginning.  Hopefully she comes around, or I'll have a lot of pictures of her crying in the snow.  Maybe she'll see the light when she gets on skis.  

Holiday weekends are wonderful, but they can be so exhausting.  

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas is Coming, So Stop Puking Already.

Three or four years ago, Mike, Claire and I had a terrible flu that peaked in its awfulness right on Christmas morning.  It was the worst flu I've ever had, and the timing could not have been worse.  I think my brother is still angry we had to break tradition and wait to open gifts until later that night.  This year, Claire seems to have come down with a bug, though not anywhere near as terrible as the flu, and she just can't shake it.  Its so up and down. She'll be in the bathroom crying about how awful she feels, the stomach pains and nausea!  And then 20 minutes later she's jumping on the couch.  Last night, I would have bet some big money that she turned the corner.  This morning at 5AM, she was yelling for me from the bathroom floor.  I'm kind of over it, and I know she is too.  Hopefully she's back on her feet tomorrow.  

We have started to celebrate Christmas, though.  Claire and Milena both got their big gifts from us since we'll be out of town Christmas morning.  We're planning bringing most of their gifts with us, but that just wasn't possible for a few of them.  Claire "got" a piano.  Jim and Monnie let us long-term-borrow theirs (thanks!), and Claire loves it.  She and Mike played for a while last night, and then Milena got into it as well.

Milena got a train table.  She loves it, and I was kind of surprised that Claire was pretty into it as well.  At least she is now, when its new.

Three more days until Christmas, and nine left in the year.  

Sunday, December 12, 2010


I found some more pictures from the first snowfall.

These two pictures of Claire are fun.  I like to think she's trying to decide who to hit with her handful of snow.   Her father, who has definitely thrown his fair share of snowballs at Claire and deserves some retaliation,

or her unsuspecting, attention getting little sister, heh.  

But she must have been thinking something else, because no one ended up with a face full of snow.

We were hit with a big storm this weekend.  The girls and I were visiting my parents, and I made what was probably a bad decision that thankfully turned out fine: driving home right at the beginning of it all.  I figured I could beat most of the storm by leaving early, and if I stayed, I'd probably be there until Monday.  The trip started out fine, but quickly got bad, and then worse.  The slower I went, the longer I was out there, and the worse the roads got.  I believe in the end, it was probably a four hour drive that usually takes two.  It would have been fine if there were a plow or two out, but in the four hours I was on the highways, I only saw one, and it was on the other side of the highway.  On the positive side, the new Pilot handles really well in terrible conditions, and after logging all those hours behind the wheel, I am now at least twice as good at driving in the snow than I was a few days ago.  

Today I was more than happy to stay in the house, so although its beautiful outside with all the snow in the tree branches, I don't have any pictures.  Maybe tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

On to Christmas

This time of year I can not post for a few weeks and it seems like so much as happened.  Last time I posted was Halloween.  Thats like two holidays ago already.

Milena has started in on the pretend play.  She likes to feed her animals.  It was like she realized one day that you could pretend to feed the stuffed animals, that pretending was a thing.  A lightbulb went off, and she pretends all the time now.  Its really fun.


And she discovered painting on herself is also a thing you can do. There are many discoveries to make at this age.  

Claire got a fish, which she named Gordon.  He's a lovely, even-tempered beta fish.  She likes to feed him a lot.

Went to Green Bay.  Claire likes to hold Mason.  Mason still likes to sleep.  

The first snowfall happened between the last post and this one.  Milena was pretty excited about it, until I got her all dressed to go out and play in it.  Most of her winter gear is too big, and that kind of keeps her from moving around much.  But the major problem was that she didn't have boots that fit.  I figured a pair of Claire's old ones would be fine until we got around to getting her some that fit, but not two steps out the door and she crashed forehead first into the garage floor.  So the first experience was kind of a bust, but she has new boots now so next time will be better.  

I remember Claire at this age, figuring out what snow was.  Its kind of fun that next year Milena will probably see snow again for the first time.  

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Halloween and Whatnot.

Claire decided a year ago she wanted to be a paintbrush for Halloween.  We were making her costume, a doorbell, when she stopped, looked at her brush and said, "Next year, I want to be a paintbrush". And it stuck.  So I bought a bunch of black felt and nylon tule and shredded it to make a skirt which in my head looked a lot more paintbrush-like.  I think the problem was trying to make her upper body look like a handle.  It just didn't, no matter what we tried.  But she had fun and thats what counts.  I think one year, when she was two or three and brand new to the whole trick-or-treating idea, she was a princess because she had a dress.  The following year she was Diego, and that was the end of the recognizable costumes.  She was a red blood cell.  Then last year she was a doorbell, and this year the paintbrush.  For the record, she's been thinking about being Venus next year.  If nothing else, she keeps me on my creative toes.  

Thats one of the things I love so much about Claire and hope that she holds on long past childhood.  She doesn't just go with the flow or do something because her friends are.  She's just so purely herself and doesn't give much thought to what other people will think.  I would love to be more like that. 

Anyway, I have a new nephew, which is pretty awesome.  Here he is:

His name is Mason, and he is super sweet.  He likes to sleep all day and party all night, from what I hear.  He is my brother's first kid, and its pretty obvious 'dad' suits him well.  Lots of new things going on over at his house, so we've been taking it easy at our house to balance things out. 

Sunday, October 03, 2010

At the Library.

At the library, Milena is completely unwilling to look at books with Claire.  She wants to play with the trains.  While Claire is wandering around, Milena does everything she can to escape and get to the 'choo-choo choo-choo's.    Finally Claire has what she wants and we head over to the train table.  Milena is finally happy, and Claire talks about her book.  But not for long.  After all, it looks like such a good book, who can resist diving right in?

Also, the girls were having such a good time playing tonight.  Usually this will stop as soon as I reach for a camera, but tonight I got lucky.

Friday, October 01, 2010

Faking It.

A little bump on the head by the swing means some tears, if...wait, is someone ...watching?  Yes?  Definitely worth a fake cry.

Sunday, September 26, 2010


This is my favorite time of year for a lot of reasons.  I love the weather.  Cool and sunny or cloudy windy, whichever.  Some days the mix of clouds and sun seems to bump up the contrast of everything.  Colors are more vivid, and the change from green to rusty reds and oranges is so nice.  Sometimes the variation is surprising.

I've been trying to get out as often as possible to enjoy it all.  Today Claire and I went on an Acorn Hunt. We found a bunch of acorns, and we found a bunch of burrs.  So I did what I had to.  I chased her down and threw burrs all over her shirt.  I think she kept asking me to pull them off, but she was laughing so hard, I couldn't be sure.  In any case, it was a huge success.  We also went to Token Creek a few times.  One time I remembered Milena's shoes, the other time I didn't.  She enjoyed the 'with shoes' trip much more than the 'socks only' trip.  In this picture, I can almost hear her saying 'Mama.  Mama.  Mama.'

It looks like this entire next week is going to be awesome Wisconsin fall weather.  Hopefully I can take as much of it in as possible.  Maine was always fantastic in fall, and I kind of miss being out there for this time of year, climbing Bradbury Mountain or maybe making a trip to Camden.  But on the other hand, I still make the same apple crisp and Wisconsin can definitely hold its own.  I just have to find a few more hikes.  Maybe something that has some elevation.  Devil's Lake, perhaps?

Otherwise, Mike made another successful cabin trip, this time to the real cabin (I've spent the past half hour reading the archives) instead of some electrically wired and plumbed impostor.  Last year's post makes me kind of regret we didn't have some kind of dinner for everyone again.  We bought a new (to us) vehicle a few weeks ago, a Honda Pilot.  It sounds like it handled five guys and their gear plus a trip to the Do It center for lumber and tools without a problem, and thats awesome, because thats the kind of thing we bought it for.

My birthday often marks the official beginning of fall,  and thats another reason why I love the season.  I turned 30 last week which makes me the same age as Mike, and according to Claire thats 'pretty old'.  Can't say I didn't see it coming.  And since Mike got me a new iPhone 4 for the occasion, here is a video of my day.  I count myself very lucky that its not actually anything out of the ordinary...

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Picture Recap

I've been trying to get back to my New Years resolution to take a picture a day.  The goal was pushed to the back burner over the summer.  During the winter, when I was actually taking a picture each day, I thought it would be much easier to accomplish the goal in the summer.  Not so much.  Some days its difficult to pick only one to add to the official Picture of the Day list, some days the camera never comes out.

So Claire had another birthday, and I forgot to ask her a list of questions like I have on her past birthdays.  I'll have to do it tomorrow.  It was actually a low key birthday.  A little pizza, a little cake, some presents and a bike ride to top it off.  This weekend is her party, and she chose to play laser tag with a few friends.  I'm actually looking forward to it.  I haven't played laser tag since high school, and while I was never very good at it, but I'm pretty sure I can take a few 7 year olds.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

First Day, Second Grade

Another year off and running.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Last Days of Summer

School starts September 1st.  Eight more days, but who's counting?

We spent some more time in Door County earlier this month.  There is enough to do there that we can easily find something new each time we go, but we've definitely found some favorites as well.  Peninsula State Park, for example.  Milena enjoys the water, Claire enjoys the sand.  There are boats to rent and trails to hike.  A tower to climb, a nature center, lighthouse, snack shop. Something for all of us.  Milena is pretty happy with any of it, and in general won't leave willingly.  Luckily for us, she's pretty content to be carried off as well.

We visited the park twice while we were there.  The first day was overcast, but perfect for sitting on the beach.  The second day was beautiful, and we made sure to stop at as many overlooks as possible.  And we made Claire get out of the car each time so she could enjoy it as well.  She even glanced up from her book a few times.

We played some mini-golf as well.  I have to say, I am pretty awesome at mini-golf.  I know because I've beaten Mike 100% of the times we've played.  I also took this picture of Milena and realized she's a full on toddler now.  She looks more kid than baby.  I think that may have happened overnight, but now she's running instead of walking and she's fine on the stairs.  She's talking all the time, even using some real words.  She's big, all of a sudden.

We ended up cutting the Door County portion of our trip a bit short and stayed with my family for a few days.  It had been a while since we'd seen them.  Also, the heat and humidity broke and we enjoyed a few fantastic evenings and nights playing around outside.   

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Warm Days

Its been hot, and I generally don't like the heat.  However I do like it when its warm enough to skip a bath and play in the sprinkler at 8pm instead.

I know I'm not the only one.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

A Big Week

Last week was a big one.

We tried to go to Oregon on Thursday, but severe weather kept us home.  We tried again on Saturday and had much better luck.  We arrived right on time with a few new how-tos for traveling.
1. If you begin travel at night and your plane gets delayed, you don't have as many opportunities to get out the same day.  Pretty obvious.  This lesson cost us two days of vacation.
2. Traveling at night with a 1 year old sucks.  I'm sure this lesson cost several strangers several hours of sleep.  For anyone reading this has ever been on a plane with a crying baby, believe me, the parents feel really really bad about it and would do just about anything to make it stop.

In the end it was all worth it because we had an awesome time in Portland and then at a beach house in Seaside.  It was Milena's first time at the beach since she's been mobile.  It might be an understatement to say she loved it.

The weather was overcast and foggy the entire time, but it was still beautiful and it didn't stop us from visiting several beaches, walking around down town, and just doing the family vacation thing.  Ecola State Park was one of my favorites.  It looks just like the Oregon coast looks like in my imagination.

Fort Stevens was also really nice.  There was a big sand dune for running down, a big shipwreck to explore and what looks like miles and miles of beach.  The way it runs of into the mist, it looks like you could walk forever.  Milena walked around smiling the whole time.  Claire was off wandering on her own.  She was so busy all week, I was lucky if I could get a picture of her running off to explore/pretend something.

Also this past week we sold our Maine house, so thats big news.  And the day after that was our anniversary (eight years!), so there was much cause for celebration.  Our flights home were thankfully during the day and went as smoothly as expected.  I am looking forward to February, however, when Mike an I will get on a plane to Germany without the kids.  Its been a while.  

Many thanks to Maighie and Emily for coming up with the idea and then setting it up.  We had a great time and can't wait to do it again.