Monday, March 31, 2008

Preview of Amanda's Photos

I had the kids photographed by Amanda of
La Bella Vita Photography on Sunday. She emailed me two sneak peaks as she continues to work on the others. I am very excited to see the rest. I mean, I knew that Reed had some nice, creamy skin, but this is ridiculous.

Spring Fair

What do you do in Bangor when it is the last weekend in March and it is SNOWING?

Go to the Bangor Y's Spring Fair, of course. What fun for the 3 and under set. Sandi took some amazing shots of the kids and mine sort of sucked, so I stole these from the Carver blog. Because Suzanne and I had babies strapped to us, Sandi ended up going on all the rides and got the best shots, especially on the tea cup twirly ride (the one I can barely look at while it spins by me.). Skyler, apparantly, has not inherited my motion sickness.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Guess what day it is today!?!?


That's right. It's been a very long winter, and today it is really spring, the first Red Sox game of the season. Because the first game was in Japan, it aired at 6 am here on the east coast. As true Sox fans, we had breakfast with the game.
And yes, they won.

Skyler was shocked that she got to watch tv while eating her cereal! In the morning!

Reed did a lot of clapping and hooting, but he wasn't really sure why.

We stopped by at my mom's after school and she took these shots:

I am slightly alarmed even at myself about how happy I was today to be back into baseball season. It really, truly lifted my spirits. I might have already made this abundantly clear, but I'm so sick of winter I could cry a gallon of tears. A gallon. And even though it is still in the 30s, the boys of summer being back on the field just really helps my morale.

My students and I always bond over our love of the Sox and debrief the games, so today was fun at school, everyone in their Sox gear. I think part of the appeal is this sense of New England comraderie that goes with the team spirit, this feeling of having accomplished something truly great by just having survived the winter, and the off-season, together. And while they took their Macbeth tests, I kept the realtime gamecast on up on my laptop and gave my students updates as they occured. This fact absolutely shocks and amazes my very own husband, who didn't even know that it was the new kid who hit the winning home run.

Different topic: this is Skyler's latest self portrait. I love it. I love how she looks sort of fetus-like and how her hair is all piled up on her head. And the sun ALWAYS shines in the upper corner of Skyler's drawings.

Fetus jumping for joy on a sunny day. By Skyler Manhart

Monday, March 24, 2008


It was a cold Easter in Maine, big surprise. Too bad Skyler's cute dress had to be covered by a sweater. We still had a lovely day. Here's a summary:

Reed looked like a tiny little man in his Easter sweater.

Painting the bird houses that the Easter Bunny delivered.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

cute as a baby bird

I knew when I saw these edible chocolate birds' nests on-line, I HAD to make them. These are the little Easter treats I made for Skyler and Reed's daycare friends. They are made from melted chocolate and shredded wheat.

I think it was designed to be an activity you do with your kids. But they had to set for an hour, and Skyler is not yet good at activities that involve waiting for anything. I did it all by myself and had a jolly-good time.

saucy boy



Wednesday, March 19, 2008

misery came for a visit

I am just emerging from the miserable land of the 24 hour evil flu. Reed had it first, which was a very, very, very sad sight to behold (what is sadder than a small adorable child with flaming red cheeks and a horrible, hacking cough?). It was the very first time Reed had been sick other than a runny nose. He recovered, and I went back to school for 1 day, then was struck down with it myself. Within an hour of getting home on Tuesday I went from "huh- i feel kind of hot and dizzy and funny" to not being able to lift my head off the pillow. I'm so sorry to anyone I may have infected along the way because it was no party. That's the sickest I've been in probably 10 years. no joke. But I'm feeling SO MUCH better that I feel like I have this whole new lease on life now and I have to restrain myself from going hog-wild. You know how when you feel like you're dying and you can't move and every bone in your body aches and you soak through your clothes with sweat and then you finally feel like a human again and you want to just jump for joy and throw open the windows and rejoice? That's me.

Not so much for Reed. In celebration of getting over his illness, he has decided now would be a good time to cut 4 molars. POOR KID! He's crying again. Must go soothe.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

I don't want to grade Macbeth tests

So, I'll do this instead.

Here is what we've been up to:

Saturday, we joined the local pool which is 1/2 a mile from our house where Sam and I can train and we can all go to Family Swim. The gradual entry is perfect for the kids. I thought Reed would be cold, but he was just wild for the water. I guess he does have an insulation layer.

Here is Reed hanging out today before he started his downward spiral into feeling really terrible. More on that later.

The Carvers, our dear friends (and now neighbors!) had an adoption party to celebrate their official adoption of their daughters (they each birthed one, so now they are both officially mom to both girls; everyone knows they already both were mom to both girls, but apparantly the state was a little slow to recognize the obvious). Anyway, it was a wonderfully happy event where we all got to celebrate what family means and learn to not take for granted the rights that most of us get without having to hire lawyers. Anyway, back to the party!

Is this the prettiest cake you ever did see?

It's official! Hooray!

happy moms

Do you see that classic gaped-mouth look that says: I can't breathe through my nose.

Sandi built this rice table for Ella. Skyler was way into it and asked me if I'd build her one too. I said Yes. Um, really? An open container of rice in the house? Sam wasn't exactly wild about the idea. As long as we could keep Reed away, it could be fun?

Meanwhile, Reed got worse and worse all afternoon and was just exhausted and puffy-eyed and snuffly and warm. Uh-oh. And I was just about to brag that he made it through an entire winter with nothing more than a sniffle. He actually fell asleep sitting up in the bath tub. (yes, I was right there). I may be taking tomorrow off to stay home and cuddle him.

I have just rounded the corner into week 3 of my half-marathon training. For the first time all winter, I ran outside today. The roads are really icy and messy here, so I'd gotten pretty comfy on the nice, dry treadmill at the gym. So, I was sort of worried about hitting the road today. I thought I'd be slower on the road, not to mention, the road doesn't have a bank of tvs where I can switch between CNN and America's Next Top Model. Yikes. But the fresh air felt great and I even held a faster pace today AND it was hilly. I am putting all of my faith in this guy, Hal Higdon. We're hanging in there, Hal. The tough parts of this plan are definitely lurking ahead. More updates soon.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

How do you spell RELIEF?

C-L-O-S-I-N-G D-A-Y!!!

Well, folks. It's official. We sold our old house and OWN our new house.

I feel so much...... lighter.

Now, and only now, you may begin to tell us how insane it was to move in here before we knew for sure it was going to end this way. Go ahead. I can take it.

I had an image in my mind of a photo of the four of us on our front step holding the contract as our victory shot. Well, it was rainy/snowy and Sam had to dash off to his grad class, so, instead I spread out the signed contract on the kitchen floor. Award winning, no?

Shortly after we got home, our realtor showed up with this gift basket full of lovely treats. Oh my goodness, those lemon chocolate things! The basket also included Borders gift cards for each of the kids... so nice. I love a gift basket. And, I feel that we have really stepped up in the world because when we bought our last home, our realtor gave us a candle. I think they knew we earned it this time. It's a miracle through all that waiting and negotiating that I didn't ever lose my cool. Okay, one time I did. One time I used the word "strangle" in an email. But that was it.

I celebrated all day in little small ways of being nice to myself:

I had a long shower.
I had a croissant for breakfast.
I drank two cups of coffee while watching the Today show, which is actually really silly, but whatever.
I vacuumed out my car.
We had lunch at the Harvest Moon.
The Carvers came over for dinner.
I ate a lot of lemon chocolatty things.
And Sam and I are going on a date this Saturday.

A what?

A date. Like with babysitters and stuff.

Sushi and a movie we think.

I know. We never do that. But we earned this one!

Hooray for closing day!
Hooray for no more realestate-themed blog posts!
Hooray for deep sleeping!
Hooray for upstairs laundry! (sorry)

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Sweet Sunday

A walk in the new neighborhood. Skyler is wearing all the medals Sam won today at his masters champion swim meet.

Reed in the Ergo backpack (thanks for the idea, Sarah.) Reed loves it in there! He even hung on my back while I cleaned the house. Why didn't I buy one of these months ago?

Cute, right? This morning nap on my bed was a result of Skyler staying up past 10 last night.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Miracle at Hampden Library

One of my all-time favorites:

This morning Skyler and Reed and I drove to the Hampden Library. I pulled into a parking spot right by the door, then realized it was handicapped, and backed up. Skyler said: "Why are we going backwards?"
Me: "Because this parking spot is only for people who can't walk. We need to park over here."

We drove down the hill and parked in the bigger lot and walked up toward the library. As we were going up, a father and son were walking down from the direction of the door, and the parking spot we had just reversed out of.

Skyler looked excitedly at the little boy, then at me, then said to him:

"You are ALL BETTER!"

The little boy stared blankly.

Skyler: "You can WALK!!!"

Friday, March 7, 2008

neighborly love

Today when we were just getting home from Reed's 1-yr check up, our two-doors-down neighbors showed up with a loaf of banana bread and a new friend for Skyler, 4-yr old Rosie. The girls were holding hands within, I think, 2.5 minutes, upstairs giggling in Skyler's room. I chatted with the really nice mom who invited us to walk down and see their home, the other really old one on this street, also built by the same guy (we think). They have a HUGE yard with a big, wooden play structure (score) and an amazing girly play room. I had to do some serious convincing to get Skyler home for dinner. When we left, Rosie stood at the door (this is exactly 35 minutes after meeting for the first time ever) and said: "I LOVE YOU SKYLER! I'LL SEE YOU IN THE MORNING, OKAY?"

Thursday, March 6, 2008

making progress

my love letter to rural development must have worked.

They approved the loan, ordered the funds, and gave us a closing date (this is the first one that will have come from them). We have cleared all the foreseeable hurdles. Closing date is next Wednesday.

I know. You'll believe it when you see it. Me too.

When/if I have the title to this house in my hands? Oh man.


We had a snow day (that's #6 for those who are counting).
My cold never turned into anything more than a few low-energy days.
Running feels GOOD.
Sam is an unstoppable force of home improvement and organization.
I got my hair did.

Good things. Thanks for all the positive energy, folks. It seems to be working.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

do you need some love?

dear rural development office people,

why do you hate us? you are the people who are going to loan the money to the people who are trying to buy our house. they really want our house, and we really need them to buy it. you have made us wait and wait and wait. you have made us have three separate inspections on our house. they have all passed. you tell us every day that the loan is processing. you tell us every day that the paper work should be complete today or tomorrow. this has been going on for over two weeks. i know you don’t know me. or care. or want to hurry this paperwork through. you don’t know how sensitive I am about these things. how much of a worrier i am.

we know that you just go to work and punch the clock and then go home, without worrying about me. all we are waiting for is one signature. how long does that take? meanwhile, i am getting very stressed. i am scared that something is going to fall through. then we would have to move out of the house we just moved into. because we can’t afford to buy this house until the other people buy ours. and your signature, that would take maybe 2 seconds (that’s generous), is all i need to start feeling okay again. to start sleeping well at night. i am trying to read a book. but i can’t read more than 2 pages a night. because i’m worried sick. i lie there and imagine having to pack up this house and move back to our old house. we have had 4 separate closing dates that have all had to be cancelled while we wait for you to do your paperwork. if you would just please sign the god-forsaken paper so we can all go on with our lives. you wouldn’t want me to have a nervous breakdown, would you? would you? hello?

do you need someone to love you? i can love you. do you love bread? i can bake that for you. i can make you a lovely quilt. what do you need? hello?


Monday, March 3, 2008

training report: day one

my 12-week training program entails:
one day of "stretch and strengthen"
two days of 3-5 mile runs (one with weights after)
two cross training days (snoeshoeing for now, biking eventually)
one long run
one rest day

mondays are "stretch and strengthen" which I interpret as doing a 30-minute pilates video.

day one: done.

Skyler joined me for a while and really boosted my morale with comments like:
"Is this part hard for you Mom?
Because it doesn't look like it's hard for her" (Anna Caban)

"This is easy for me!"

"Mom, lift your leg higher, like Anna."

small glitch: I'm sick. I have the cold my whole family has. There is just no avoiding the snot that trails out of Reed's nose (sorry for the image). I have avoided colds all winter, though I have felt a few coming on. My strategy is to be in denial that I'm getting sick. (I WILL be better by tomorrow.) And going to bed early. And eating huge oranges. Which reminds me.

Here is a wonderful poem about an orange for you. It makes me smile. You?

The Orange

By Wendy Cope

At lunchtime I bought a huge orange
The size of it made us all laugh.
I peeled it and shared it with Robert and Dave—
They got quarters and I had a half.

And that orange it made me so happy,
As ordinary things often do
Just lately. The shopping. A walk in the park
This is peace and contentment. It’s new.

The rest of the day was quite easy.
I did all my jobs on my list
And enjoyed them and had some time over.
I love you. I’m glad I exist.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

snow and bread

We got another foot of the white stuff this weekend.

And that's all I have to say about that.

Meanwhile, I think of baking bread in a house as an act of making it officially a home.

Skyler and I chose "Celeste's sunflower and oatmeal bread" from our favorite bread book for our first Hampden batch. It is delicious. She will work on kneading a small piece of dough for the longest time and then I tuck it into one of the loaves so that she knows she has made "the magic middle warm part of the bread."

Watching it bake

And here are the kids ready for church this morning. When I zip Reed into this giant snow suit that he only recently grew into (our favorite hand-me-down from our Utah boys), he just lies on the floor, not moving. He thinks he cannot move in it. He actually stayed perfectly still on the floor for 10 minutes while we all got ready. It is extra thick and plush. He feels like GIANT baby when I carry him around in it.

And Skyler has recently acquired a pink boa that she must wear everytime she leaves the house.

And that's all I have to say about that.