Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Katie Sez...

... Mom, everyone is decorating for Halloween. Everyone. Why can't we decorate for Halloween? We need pumpkins and spooky spiders! Please, mom, please?!

Did this really start already? This everyone thing where everyone else in the world but me is doing something/getting something/going somewhere and I don't ever get anything and I'm whining. That thing. We've started that already? Really? Who took my baby away and left this obnoxious teenager in her place?

I have NOT begun decorating for Halloween because 1. it's September and 2. September is kicking my butt. I can't believe how busy it's been here the past few weeks. It seems that every weekday is a blur of pick up and drop off times and lunches to pack and forms to fill out and show-and-tells to remember. And then every weekend is filled up with things to do and places to go. Fun things, exciting things, some scary things, some tedious things, but mostly enjoyable things and people we love to see. Nevertheless, our life is zooming by and the house is a wreck. Where would we even put pumpkins and spiders when it looks like a bomb went off in here? There are probably some real spiders living under the laundry pile in the basement anyway. Why buy plastic ones?

I never like it when life gets hectic. It makes me feel strung out and unsettled. Where did the time go? I just wanted to drink my coffee on the deck and watch the leaves change color, but I turned around and the month was gone and the colors have already started to show. I didn't get a chance to live while my life was happening in fast forward.

There are six more days left in September. This coming weekend is scheduled to the hilt, but then I'm going to attempt to put the brakes on as best I can. My New October's Resolution (remember how in January I said I never make resolutions??) is to stop and smell the pumpkin pie. I need to take my girl to the farm stand and pick out some mums and decorative gourds. I need to throw away some old magazines and put away all the books I've finished reading. I need to pack up the good 50% of the mountain of shoes next to the front door that no longer even fit the feet of anyone who lives in this house. I need to make a big pot of soup or chili or beans and cornbread. I should make a carrot cake. I need to sit on the deck and drink my coffee and watch the leaves change.

(I'm not even going to check my email while I'm out there!)


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Katie Sez...

... Why is this cake old?

Me: Old? It's not old. They just made it. See, it's still hot. It's an old recipe. People have been buying funnel cakes just like this at carnivals for a hundred years at least.

Kate: OK. Can I have another piece of your fun old cake?


Saturday was Mike's company picnic at Canobie Lake Amusement Park. It was the first time we had ever taken the girls to a big amusement park like that, and they had a blast, of course. Kate asks if we can go back tomorrow... every day.

Red Fruit Punch Moustache


"Annie" is my favorite song off this new album, Piety and Desire, but there isn't really a video for it. Have a listen anyway. Gill Landry's voice is to die for.

You can also check out some of his photography on his web site - I especially like the ones of Oklahoma!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

First Days of School

The house is silent except for the sounds of the garbage truck outside and my typing fingers on the keyboard. I have eaten my breakfast and poured my second cup of coffee and sorted through our photos to find the best ones. The reeling thoughts in my mind are settling down into actual sentences and there is no one here to interrupt me. Today is the first day so far that Maggie and Kate have both had school at the same time, and let me assure you that I am not weeping into my hankie about it. I feel like I'm taking a big, deep, relaxing breath; a sigh of relief. Don't get me wrong, I'm going to miss those girls. But I'll be that much happier to see them when I pick them up from school later. We'll all four have our own separate stories to tell tonight over dinner. I'm looking forward to that.
Let's take a quick detour through some photos of the girls picking apples with their Gram and Grandpa a couple of weeks ago. I can hardly believe it's already apple picking time, but the Macs are ripe and Kate has been begging for apples. We went up to New Hampshire on Labor Day to our favorite orchard, Mack's Apples (since 1732, here's their story), to pick a literal peck of apples and eat some ice cream. The girls had a wonderful time. They love to do farm work!


I'll actually be going on a field trip with Kate's preschool class to pick apples again in a couple of weeks. We should be ready for another peck bag by then even though Kate is on a strictly one apple per day ration. She would eat them all right now and damn the consequences if her parents didn't force her to be sensible. I'm afraid of what her college years are going to look like!


After our "What?! Apple picking?! Summer is over, Fall is upon us!" Labor Day weekend, we started the slow process of easing in to the school year. Last week we had something to do at school every day even though their actual classes hadn't started yet. We met Maggie's teacher, Ms. K, and did a scavenger hunt around the school on Tuesday. Maggie had an "assessment" on Wednesday - a little test to let Ms. K know where she is on her academic, cognitive, social, and physical development since she's new to school. Thursday was Kate's preschool open house. And then on Friday Maggie had a class visit where all the kids went into the classroom with the teacher for an hour or two and got to know each other while the parents went to a reception with the PTO and the principal in the cafeteria. Just a little bit every day, and a good excuse to get up and be dressed by 9 am! Thanks School, I needed that kick in the pants!

So we were ready. We were pumped. We already knew some kids, we had our school supplies, and we had labelled all our belongings. Kate actually started first, since she goes on Tuesdays and Thursdays and Maggie's kindergarten didn't begin until yesterday. Kate has actually been ready for preschool since Maggie started there last year and I had to drag Kate, crying, out to the parking lot every morning after drop off. So I wasn't a bit surprised that she charged right in and never looked back. Kate has fun wherever she goes, with whomever she's with! I know they're going to love her.

Maggie admitted that it was pretty weird to drop Kate off at her old preschool and leave with me instead of it being the other way around. And Kate said, "This is MY school now, Mags!" They both seemed pretty pleased about it. Afterwards, Maggie and I drove Mike to the train station and then headed for the book store - our favorite place! I was really glad to have that morning alone with Mags before her all-day-every-day classes start. We had some treats in the cafe, picked out some books, went to the story time in the kids' section, and just bummed around. She was totally eating up being the center of attention! It was a really lovely little quiet morning for us.

Kate just HAD to have this dress for her first day of school. She's very proud of it.

This is a cheesy pic, but I wanted to tell you about this lunch box. Kate told me about a month ago that her lunch box was red with a lady bug on it. I was a little worried that she'd be disappointed when we couldn't find one just like that, but then this one miraculously appeared at Target. Kate saw it and said, "Oh see, there's my lunch box, Mom!" So of course we had to get it! Whew.

Two Little Girls Go Off to School

First School Artwork

Cutting and Pasting
Maggie's first real day of kindergarten was the following day (yesterday), so we went through the whole process of crazy morning, remember all your stuff, quick take some pictures, yes Daddy is going to school with us again today, try to look like you know what you're doing. Kate did NOT have class, which was really nice because we could just focus on Mags. She packed her own lunch the night before (!) and we laid out her new first day of school dress that she picked out to match Kate's (!).

Maggie is often fairly tentative in new social situations and she can really hang back when there's a huge crowd of strange kids - like on the playground at her K-5 elementary school on the first day. But since we'd been through all the orientation events, she seemed pretty comfortable with the school itself and with her teacher. I'm sure it's all a bit stressful for her as she tries to figure out what to do and where she fits in, and she's been pretty quiet about the whole thing, but there have been no tears or refusals. She's a brave girl and I told her how proud I was of her. She came home with stories about the other little girls in her class: Annie, Katherine (!), Elsa, and Clio. They played princesses and Maggie was the dragon, and when she got tired of being the dragon she was the girl who fought the dragon even though she wasn't sure if girls fight dragons! None of the boys in her class seem too mean or too crazy, she says. She got to put a special sticker on a bulletin board in computer class because she helped another student read the word "keyboard." I'm sure they are already starting to figure out that our Miss Mags is a firecracker! Watch out kindergarten, she's going to eat you for lunch.

New dress, new lunch box, new school!

Pretty cute girls! (Kate is standing on her tiptoes, but jeez!)
And now it's Thursday; both girls' second day of school. They are out there in the world now, running on playgrounds, eating sandwiches out of ziploc bags in lunchrooms, learning to raise hands and stand in line, playing girls who fight dragons. And I'm here by myself in the quiet, drinking my coffee, typing. I'm excited for them. They are a couple of happy, tough girls and the world is their oyster. OK, I might cry a little bit about that now, but then I'm going to pat myself on the back and rest on my laurels for a day or two because I think we're all doing great.


Here are a couple more fun pictures that Mike took of them a few days ago. No, they aren't twins. They're just doing that to mess with you.