Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Back in...

New York!  Our annual pilgrimage has been begun.  We arrived in NYC this week and as excited as I am (and the kids as well) I am feeling in a rut and a bit lost for something interesting and fresh to do with the kids while Matt is dutifully working away.  We have done all the touristy things there are to do:  Empire State Building, Macy's Day parade, Times Square complete with rides on the Toys R Us ferris wheel, Central Park, Natural History Museum, Children's Museum, Riverside Park, and Staten Island ferry.  The parks we will never leave; they are our lifeblood here in NYC, especially for two country kids.  But we are looking for something fresh and new.  I am doing some research as we speak, any ideas?

Monday, November 1, 2010


Is that shriek because of last night's Halloween tricks or because it has been a horrifyingly long time since I have written on the blog?  Well, both actually.  Super cute kids dressed up in slaved-over costumes is definitely motivating me to show my face around here.  It's not that I have stopped having things to write about or a lack of exciting life events to share (don't laugh).  It's just that I am learning that life as a mother of a first grader is busy!  I mean, I have a preschooler too but he doesn't have a half and hour of homework every night and 2 swim practices a week for the swim team.  Although, he does have his own swimming lesson and opinions about how we should be spending our time.  So, I have been adjusting to homework, tight schedules, early, fast dinners 3 times a week (I like to cook slowly, preferably with a beer in my hand so this has been an adjustment) and lots of transitions between activities.  Watching Abigail learn to read, seeing her thoughtful movement in the water as she refines her swimming technique, and seeing her gain confidence in herself as a result of both as been worth the madness however.  Plus getting two nights a week to spend one on one time with my little guy and do nothing but play while sister works hard has been enriching as well.  I am glad when bedtime comes though!

So on with Halloween!  I have made the kids costumes every year since they are born and this year I learned two things.  1 - I really like to make costumes!  I like the challenge of creating something from their imagination and getting to watch them enjoy it.  2 - Ears are really hard to make well.  The kids have never dressed as something with ears before (besides their own ears, that is) so I was not prepared for this challenge.  It worked out in the end.  Trail and error makes perfect for me.  I know I said 2 things but here is number 3 - Making Halloween costumes is kind of like making a really great homemade dinner.  It takes about 3 times longer to make the thing that it does to enjoy it.  Ah, well, good thing I like the process of creating as much as I do the product!  So without further ado, here are the super cute kiddos:

Do you know what she is yet?  Well, try the next one.

Give up?  She is a horse, of course!  This costume was hard to capture in a photograph.  It looked better in person.  Any guesses on Tristan's costume?  Check out below...

Easy one, Batman!

The loot!  They are still too young to know what a small amount of candy that is compared to what other kids bring home.  Shhh, don't you be the one to tell them either!

And what is Halloween without carving up some pumpkins and eating some yummy seeds, eh?


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

This week in the garden

Beets!  Yummy, delicious, so sweet when roasted that Matt thought I put sugar on them, beets!  One even as big as Tristan's head and with a head as big as his, (No, I am not being rude.  It is a scientific fact!  He is in the 95th percentile for head circumference after all.), that's big for a beet.



Monday, September 20, 2010

It happened...

This weekend it happened.  I knew it was coming for whole year and there was no stopping it, no matter how many times I told Matt "well, at least I am still in my twenties" (it happened to him last year).  Yep, I am officially a thirties something.  It's not so bad, though (it still does sound weird).  The twenties were pretty experimental stupid.  I am looking forward to using some of that life experimental knowledge to not be as stupid this decade.  One can hope, eh?

Matt, the sly dog that he is, planned a few surprises for me.  I picked up the mail on Friday and strangely there were four cards all addressed to Sara "you are turning 30".  Now, one may have been funny.  Two could have been some conniving but four?  I knew what was going on.  Facebook, that's what.  I have yet to join the rest of the world in that online community where everyone you know or don't know at all are your "friends."  So Matt used that to get people to send me some you-are-30 cards.  My favorites by far are 7 cards from our god son Adam.  Nice work, little man!  I can't wait to put one in my office, one in my sewing room, one on my refrigerator, one in my bedroom...I will find places for them all!  I also received one that recalled many of my favorite ancient  childhood memories like side ponytails and mullets, the comador 64, New Kids on the Block (!), and Saved by the Bell.  Ah, the 80's...

Thanks to all of you for your cards, surprise cake and champagne, gifts, and love!  It's gonna be a good decade, I can just feel it...


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Tristan's new favorite sport...

There is a great local non profit here in the Berkshire's called the Northern Berkshire Community Coalition.  They are teaming up with the Massachusetts Museum of Modern Art (MASS MoCA) in North Adams to pitch an idea for Pepsi's "Do Good" campaign. They are proposing to build and artistically design a skate park for and with input from North Adams youth who desperately need a positive alternative to street style life. I believe we have the power to change our communities one innovative idea at a time. Please give them a chance to win the funding by clicking the link below and voting yes (and supporting Tristan's new favorite sport.  And no it doesn't matter that he has never ridden a skateboard in his life)!!!


Thursday, September 9, 2010


We had such a wonderful, restful, active, enjoyable family vacation to Acadia National Park.  We arrived and departed on subsequent Sundays so we had 2 traveling days and 6 whole days of recreation!  And we certainly had both recreation at the beach, in the woods, exploring towns and museums and a re-creation of ourselves, our relationship connections and our family.  Running a 6 month intensive on site residential youth program can be draining (understatement) and this vacation fed us for sure.  We tented (on gravel and next to our car but still) which was great and when we were evicted from our camp grounds because of Hurricane Earl we enjoyed two nights in a motel with beds, a free hot shower and fans.  I mean, who knew it was going to 90+ degrees in Maine at the end of August/beginning of September!  I think we ran out of shorts on day four.  But  the dirty laundry, the other people in the campground who used their car's headlights as flashlights (what the?), the lack of creamer for our coffee, the bloody nose while horsing around in the town square and the cheap motel didn't matter compared with the only sandy ocean-front beach on Mt Desert island,

fishing and cooking dinner at the pristine quiet Bubble Pond,

hiking through a mystical forest of dwarfed fir, spruce, and lichen braving the harsh northern coastal weather,

climbing through a talus field with our kids (who now know what talus is) to get to the perfect fishing spot,

watching hurricane churned waves crash on a granite rock coast,

walking across a sand bar connecting one island to another only at low tide,

inspecting tidal pools while watching seagulls crack mussels open on rocks,

geeking (yes, geeking, kids included) at the Wild Gardens of Acadia where trees, ferns, and other flora native to the area are labeled and arranged by  environment type (yes, we are aware of how nerdy that is),

and more...


Wednesday, September 8, 2010

First day of school pics

The kids are getting to the age where they pretty much love and hate each other.  They can't fall asleep without one another and yet they also seem to know exactly how to push each others buttons.  I was ready for school to start!  But this has unexpectedly been a bittersweet start to the school year for me.  Last week we had just the best family vacation to Acadia NP (pictures to follow this weekend) and I am just not ready to be rushing off to school in the morning. 

Abigail gave me permission to post the above picture of her on the blog.  She didn't like the other ones I took.  When did she get so big that she cares what pictures I put of her on the blog?!  Tristan is posing with his squirrel (whose name is chipmunk, don't ask).  And you can't tell from this picture but I made his backpack for school this year (details and a better picture to come).  And he actually likes it and uses it.  Score for me!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Two favorites

My favorite kid question this week:

We were driving to NYC this week taking home our friends Kat and baby Kaesun when Abigail asked if the Empire State building was the tallest in the world.  I said no but it used to be.  That's when Tristan asked, "How did it get smaller, mama?"  Love it!

My favorite picture this week:

Abigail holding baby Kaesun.  She couldn't get enough of him even when he was crying. 


Saturday, August 21, 2010

This week in the garden

Our first cucumber!  Oh, and don't mind that ghost in the garden.  She is quite tame.  We have two cucumber plants that Tristan brought home from preschool at the end of the year.  They really were an afterthought.  I didn't have a place to plant them and Matt's mom suggested planting them at the edge of the garden and letting them trail down the side.  That has worked perfectly.  They are happy trailing along the ground and we are happy eating them.

And the squash is plentiful.  Although not from our garden, we were overwhelmed blessed this week with squash from two of our neighbors gardens.  What to do with almost a dozen squash and two kids who don't like it?  Blanch and freeze, that's what!  The kids each took turns washing, even cutting (very supervised) with a sharp knife, I did the blanching, then they gave the squash an ice bath and packed it away in freezer bags.  Abigail worked on her penmanship by marking and dating the bags.  Tristan worked on counting and fine motor skills by counting the bags for each batch and actually getting the cut up slippery squash into the bags.

So far this year we are stocked up on strawberry freezer jam, blueberries, and squash.  It is getting pretty full in there...I think some of the dead animals need to go...


Thursday, August 19, 2010

Taking flight

Warning :  This post is image heavy!!  

The following picture montage is the emergence of one of the butterflies from its chrysalis.  If you look carefully, you can see the butterfly pull itself out of the chrysalis and the wings actually expand as its blood-like fluid pumps into its wings for the first time.  This butterfly was the only one we happened to see emerge and I was awestruck.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

This week in the garden

We harvested our first crop of lettuce this past weekend (only about a quarter of what is growing) and it was so delicious.  We had a fantastic salad all from our garden of lettuce, peas, and green beans.  And yes, the kids ate it too.  With ranch dressing.  But still they ate it.

I could become seriously addicted to gardening (in a really good way, I swear!). 

Also, not related to our garden but connected in my mind because it is growing outside, I saw the Blue Bead Lilly's, whose flower picture I posted in the spring, fruit which is blue, surprise, surprise.  Next day?  Gone.  These woods sure are full of busy little critters.


ps pictures of the butterflies' progress coming soon (and I promise they are good!).

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Big night

Last night the kids slept in a tent for the first time.  At the end of August we are camping in Acadia National Park for a week and seeing that this is the first time the kids will be camping, we decided we needed a few test runs. 

They did great.  Just the two of them slept in the tent together because it was our tent before we had children and is too small for 4, tight for 3.  And well, neither of us were all that excited about squeezing in there.  Matt and the dog slept on the porch to be close by.

The kids got ready for bed in the house, we read stories together in the tent, tucked them in, and then did chores while they fell asleep.  I was expecting giggling and horsing around and/or some "mom, I am scared" but there was none of that.  Tristan fell asleep almost immediately, Abigail took a bit longer but with no problems.  I think it helps that they share a room and sleep next to each other every night.  There was no novelty in snuggling next to each other. 

I loved watching Tristan's eyes as we were reading stories and it was getting darker outside.  He just kept looking from side to side like he wasn't quite expecting the darkness.  We kept the rain fly off until after they fell asleep so they could see the stars.  Matt had also lit the tikki torches on the back porch and put on the uplight in the yard so they could see the familiar surroundings even though it was dark.

There was a 2 am wet bed that we had to clean up and then I (lucky me!) spent the rest of the night in the tent with them but they went right back to sleep.  It is 7:23 am and they are still sleeping!  That doesn't always happen even when they sleep in their own bed.

First test?  Success!


Monday, July 26, 2010

This week in the garden

The beans and peas are plentiful and often.  Abigail and I love eating them fresh from the garden.  I made the trellis for the peas from hemp and birch branches.  I love the sloping angles of it, reminds me of a house roof.  But for next year, I will need to remember to make it taller.  Who knew the peas were going to grow almost five feet high?  (Well, not me obviously!).  Since I didn't have enough pea seeds for the length of both sides of the trellis, I planted lettuce which will be ready for its first cut this week.  With all the hot weather we have had, the shade of the peas has been really helpful.  In Matt's weeding earnest he pulled up the spinach and pepper plants, so I have a few bare spots to plant some more beans.  In his defense, the kids and I started the pepper plants from seed in April and they were probably never going to produce peppers before fall so I am glad for the room.  And the spinach will do better in the cool fall anyway.  Tonight for dinner we had beans and peas from the garden, locally grown tomatoes and garlic, and basil from our herb garden.

With all this crazy hot weather this summer (loving it, not complaining.  I wait through 4 1/2 months of solid snow for this!), the blueberry bushes have all ripend at the same time and overwhelmed us!  We bribed enticed 4 of our students that work for the summer to come help us pick the bushes clean with a reward of blueberry pie.  There were 5-6 of us working for about 3 1/2 hours to get it all done.  In the end we picked about 12 quarts with lots more in people's bellies.  We had a great dinner with every single person contributing to cooking the meal in some way and 2 pies with ice cream for dessert.  I have never had so many people cooking in my house at the same time.  It was a wonderful experience.  There is just something so unifying about preparing food with people.  It was about the best way I could think of to spend a Sunday afternoon.