Tuesday, July 28, 2009

always this way --

We come home from vacation and I feel odd for a while, usually until the kids start back at school. We're in a holding pattern, and nothing seems quite real. Sure, there's laundry and grocery shopping and cooking and cleaning, not to mention occupying the offspring somewhat productively from time to time, but none of it feels real.


One thing, this year: much more true vacation time at home. Usually we get back and it's a big rush to the first day of school, but this year we've plenty of time. We had a two-day Monopoly game that must have spanned 6 hours at least, with DD emerging victorious in spite of the fact that DS2 owned three-quarters of the board. She just never landed on him. Remarkable.

In other news, I saw my spine doc today and reported to him that my neuro symptoms (numbness, tingling, hot ears) had gone away completely. Of course my ear has been acting up all evening, but I'm pretty sure that's because of my bad posture and failure to be as consistent with my exercises, not to mention not having taken any ibuprofen today. The doctor says my sore neck is due to muscle weakness and it should improve over time with careful exercise. Here's hoping. I don't have to go back unless things take a drastic turn for the worse; I was very happy to hear I don't have to go for another MRI to make sure things are OK.

I don't go back to my endo until the end of August but I've already sent out my bloodwork. I'm dreading getting back into the annual test regime, on top of everything else that's going on with the kids' new schools. With any luck by then we will have established a routine. I'm looking forward to those days. I find these structureless days oddly wearying, or maybe it's just the 110+ degree weather we're having.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

catching up

Thank God I took pictures most days, otherwise I wouldn't remember what we did.

Sunday, we went to the New England Air Museum, which is enormous and requires multiple visits to really appreciate. The history of aviation amazes me, people willing to throw themselves up into the atmosphere in the flimsiest contraptions. The vast majority of the collection is war-related. It's frankly overwhelming, but I loved catching details like this:

Not all of the collection is planes,though. I loved this hood ornament.

1935 Ford Roadster

Monday we went to the Peabody Museum at Yale, which is such a manageable little museum. I took almost this exact photo of the kids last year. Excuse the cliche, but it's amazing to see how much bigger they are this year.

Wednesday we saw Michael Cavanaugh's "Billy Joel and More" show at the Talcott Mountain Music Festival. It was awesome. The kids really got into it.

Much dancing and lip-syncing

DH's brother and his family came in from Ohio Thursday, and we had a huge family dinner at Maine Fish Market Restaurant. Friday was family portrait day, which was much less painful than anyone expected. It was lovely spending time with the family. The girls had some fun hair-styling:

College-bound (and extremely patient) cousin J returns the favor

Saturday, we packed up and flew home. We had a long layover in the Saint Paul/Minneapolis Airport. When the kids started bickering, I made them read. I'm evil like that.

"How did you do that?" A guy across from them asked. A mom knows what levers to apply, when.

In the days we've been home, we've unpacked, done laundry, shopped for food and school supplies, and otherwise generally vegged. School doesn't start until August 10, but there will be a separate post about all that.

Friday, July 10, 2009

here in CT

Computer access is limited, and I have no way to upload photos, yet. I should work on this for next year. For now, I'm making do with random access to my in-laws PC.

It's Friday evening now, and the past days have been very busy.

Tree Climbing 101

Sunday, we hiked Beebe Woods out to the Punch Bowl. We didn't see any frogs but we did see a bird in its nest, and had a nice lunch at the 99 Restaurant.

Main Street, Woods Hole

Monday, our last real day on the Cape, was sunny but too cool to swim, I thought. We went to Woods Hole and had to deal with the parking situation (always difficult). We went to the WHOI Museum and had lunch, and pie, at Pie in the Sky, the scene of last year's infamous melt-down (mine, not one of the kids). Lunch was great, and the pies -- chocolate mousse and apple -- were fantastic. On the way back we stopped at Good Will Park because DD wanted to go on the swings.

Goodwill Park

It was quite warm by that time so I demanded that we have a quick swim before dinner, which took some doing -- once we got back to Mom's, the kids had to be pried out again. We headed for one last swim and the water wasn't even (that) cold. Monday evening my older sister came down to see us before we took off, and the two of us were up past 1AM... typical.

Tuesday was spent packing up, doing laundry, and cleaning Mom's house before we finally got out about 4:30PM, heading for CT in a huge thunderstorm. The rain was kind, though, letting up when we stopped to eat, and again when we arrived and were unpacking the car.

Wednesday morning DH arrived about 10AM, having flown in on the red eye, and I picked him up at the airport. He was surprisingly energetic for someone who had been up all night, so we ended up climbing Talcott Mountain in the cool sunshine.
At the base of the Heublein Tower

We failed to get new bug repellent for the hike, but the mosquitoes did not eat us alive. It was a great day for a hike, but clouds rolled in overnight and it poured later.

The view from the porch at the Mermaid Inn

Thursday morning DH and I headed to Mystic, for our annual overnight at the charming b&b, the Mermaid Inn of Mystic. We stopped for tastings (and gelato) at Heritage Trail Vineyard and then at Johnathon Edwards Winery. We had our usual incredible dinner at the S&P Oyster Company, discussing once again why we always go there when there are so many other restaurants around... but the S&P is reliably good and the views are unparalleled. After dinner we had coffee & dessert at the b&b, the fresh-baked cookies are divine.

This morning after our delectable 4-course breakfast we strolled through Mystic and enjoyed the Connecticut Academy of Fine Arts 98th Annual Juried Exhibition at the Mystic Arts Center. Then we headed out, picking up some fudge at Mystic Seaport's bake shop, before stopping at Maugle Sierra Vineyard for another tasting.

The Grounds at Maugle Sierra

This evening we took the kids to hear ABBAMania, a Hartford Symphony Orchestra summer pops concert out in Simsbury. The performers were terrific. It was fun, although the kids are a little too old to be uninhibited about dancing and enjoying themselves. They were thoroughly exhausted by the time we got them all into bed around 11PM.

And now here I am trying to remember all these details, hoping to be able to upload photos eventually.

Photos added 7/23.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

it's (mostly) all a blur

Wednesday the weather was lousy again, and I thought we'd go up to Boston, but nobody was up for it. At 11:30AM it was as dark as 8PM, and the rain poured down. It's just as well we stayed home. We did go out for Chinese food for lunch, though, to my Mom's favorite buffet, so it's not as if we didn't do anything all day.

Thursday was another one of those days that starts dreary and ends up surprisingly OK. Unfortunately, by the time the weather broke it was about 3 in the afternoon, and the kids didn't want to do anything. I chased them out of the house for a walk on their own, and they delighted in exploring the path to the marsh. I haven't let them go down there on their own before, and they were surprised by the freedom, I think. They're growing up, and I have to learn to let them go.

For me, Thursday was a cooking day -- blueberry cake and pizza. Normally pizza would be for Friday, but since Friday was the day off for the July 4 holiday, we pushed it back to Thursday. Since I was cooking in the late afternoon, it limited what I could do with the kids, which was another reason I pushed them to go out on their own.

The annual blueberry cake

Friday? One of those beautiful days where it's much too cool to swim, but you really should be outside. Still, no one wanted to go to Beebe Woods or any other kind of hike; my brother and his wife brought down their Wii Fit game and the kids enjoyed getting back into it. (Our disc at home has been missing for some time now.) I swept up a bit outside, but nothing to strenuous. I sat and chatted with my sister-in-law in the backyard while my brother power-washed the patio and the outdoor furniture.

In the evening, my oldest brother came down with his wife and youngest son, who will be a senior in high school this year and is way, way taller than I am. We had a great dinner and sang an early Happy Birthday to my brother. Here's how you do a birthday cake when you have neither cake nor frosting:

A pan of brownies, a few candles, and birthday greetings from a color printer

Today, finally, was a beach day! It was a bit cool, only in the 70s, and that proved to be too cold to counteract the wind that was whipping. I draw the line at blowing sand, and we were almost there -- if no one was walking nearby, you'd be OK, but any movement at all and you'd be attacked by hundreds of sand pellets. The waves were awesome, though, and we all enjoyed jumping in them. The two younger kids got chilled quickly, and we ended up coming home after only a couple of hours because it just wasn't warm enough to stay, at least for me and the younger kids. DS1 could have stayed for hours, he was having so much fun.

My brother and his wife treated us to a lobster feast for dinner, and then we played Apples to Apples and hung out and I finally got the kids to bed after 10. All in all, a Happy 4th of July.

A whole lotta lobsters