Monday, February 28, 2011

Horray for the Zacker!

Zac's birthday is only happy if I get presents too.

Then end of February. The doldrums of winter. The kids are starting to resent having to put on their snow gear every time we leave the house and I am getting tired of cajoling them into doing it. I have actually been bribing them with candy. To make myself feel like less of a cheater, I bought a bunch of "Organic Vitamin "C" pops" because that makes me feel superior somehow. "Get your stuff on and I'll give you a lolly pop!"  Alas, I have overused this method to the point where lolly pops don't really matter.  (Damn! shot myself in the foot again!) Oh for the days where I throw open the door and they bound outside barefoot and barely dressed. But should we not love every day for what it is and always remember rule #1: NO WHINING!  Suck it up and enjoy the soggy rain/snow/wind of a late New England winter! After all there is much to be thankful for. We don't suffer much from food insecurity, or political oppression, or dictators or theocrats...we can spout our poorly informed political ideologies without much recourse...but I promised not to talk politics in this forum as there are too many family members with contradictory views and anyway, I like to save those discussions for holidays and family get-togethers.

So we have been making use of all this snow by building a super duper snow fort. In it's glory days a few weeks ago it was 12 ft or so high and hollowed out with a central room and two chambers and a porthole through which we could thrust an arm and totally freak out the kids. We (read: Daddy) also built a half pipe at the top of our hill out back to generate the proper amount of speed to hurtle oneself down. Lately it has rained and froze at night making the hill as slick as oil and really, really fun. I was going to invite every kid I knew to try it out but decided that would be a poor choice for potential injury related reasons. (See? I am sensible!)
looking through the door of the cave

Daddy and Zac on top of the snow cave

Dig donkey! hi-Yaaa!

This was cool, Zac found the old cave as we dug out the new cave.

I love this picture, Zac looks so stoic

Emma waiting for the arm to pop out of the hole

A pantless apres snow cuddle with Aber. Cage also serves as Zac's bear den

The kids have been getting pretty inventive with winter activities. We still go out for our daily walk, but the excitement of looking for tracks has worn a bit thin because all we ever see are rabbits, deer, and critters.  We did find marks from crows wings in the snow, where they beat against it to take off, but no bears, or big bad wolves or yetis so Emma and Zac have come up with a game they call "Faceplant"

Amidst all this winter fun, Zac has turned three! My leap year kid was pretty excited about that and Grandma Lynn & Grandpa Bob sent a package just in time. Zac was absolutely over the moon to get a package just for him in the mail. A Canada sweatshirt and a Calgary Flames hat!
I am Three!!!
It has come to my attention that Zac and Emma don't know enough about Canada and the Monarchy that figureheads it. Grandpa Bob has been counting quarters with the other grand kids so they all know about "Lizzie with her hat on" (Queen Elizabeth & crown)  To my horror, I realized my kids are totally unaware of the Queen.  I feel like a bad Canadian. I don't even know if I have any Canadian coins here. I will have to look for some. They will also need education about socialized health care and GST, and the Canadian definition of "liberal" and crying much to learn...
But Zac is three and he had a great time. Buggy and Grampy came down and cousin Isaiah, auntie Danny and uncle Jason too. We had a fun party at the gymnastics place where even the adults joined in ( grown-ups flipping off the trampoline into the foam pit! So fun I did it twice.) and triple chocolate, butter cream frosting monster cupcakes.

worth noting: Zac insisted that he not be helped with the zip line!

Daddy having a turn with Zac's present

Buggy came in and totally went on the attack. Dennis was a tad taken aback. The rest of us wondered how long she had been awaiting her opportunity.
So now I have a three year old. A stick your tongue out, pants off, "why should I?", torture the sister, listen to no one, sneak the marshmallows, "Cha" the dragon, don't eat supper, fall off the chair, go to work under the sink, 'I just love your boobies"  THREE YEAR OLD!  Hurray for the Zacker!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Eastport in 48 hours

This past weekend we found ourselves Down East. It was a really brief, unplanned trip. My Handsome Husband called and said he  had a meeting to go to in Bangor, Maine so would we like to come? Of course we would! Get the kids packed! Let's GTFO!

That was Thursday afternoon. A few hours later, when Daddy arrived to take us away, I was exercising futility trying to pack and the kids were tearing around the house like wee rabid pups- literally grabbing handfulls of whatever (toys, clothes, dog food...) and throwing  the stuff in the air, squealing. I never should have told them we were going to a hotel for the night.
Eventually we stuffed ourselves in Daddy's truck, left the chaos behind and headed off on the 4.5 hour trip to Bangor already exhausted and nerves bared to the nub. Fun!
But somehow it was pretty fun, in the way that you make things fun with kids. Because so often doing stuff with kids is not really all that fun. At least not fun in the way I think of when I think of fun. Don't get me wrong, I WANT to have fun, I want things to be fun, but making things fun for a toddler and a 4 year old is So we had fun.  Even when the the kids, revived after sleeping most of the way, bounced all over us in the hotel room bed until 4am.
We arrive in Perry that Friday, late afternoon, and immediatley dumped the kids on their grandparents and strap on our snowshoes for a stomp in the woods.
The next morning we took the kids and Buggy back to where we were and had a grand old stomp around the cove. the tide was out and the ice was broken and cracked, contouring the river bed, shivering and snapping under our feet.

 This totally cracks me up. Emma has been working on her poses lately and nothing will distract her from posing for the camers. She demanded the video be taken.

 I brought this little guy along. He had been sitting in my bag of felt for a couple of years until I got involved with "pay it forward" thing where I get someone's handmade something and in return I give away 5 of my own handmade somethings.

That afternoon, we met up with our dear friend Rafi for another snowshoe. this time around Shackford head. It needs to be said right here that Rafi is one of the very best people in the world. True story. He has put up with my inappropriate, poorly timed, off the mark ridiculousness for over 8 years now and I just love him for it. On that tack, so has my husband. Thanks guys.
 The Bridge to Campobello Island New Brunswick. Beyond that, the 300' cliffs of Grand Mannan Island. You can see Canada from here!

This is where we went. It is steeper than it looks, and was totally fun to flop around in all that snow.

 This is another felted wool doll which is part of the "take 1 give 5" thing

What a great hike.
Since this is a P.G. blog, I won't spill about Dennis and I hitting the town that night until way too late and inbibing too many wierd vodka drinks and all the stuff that goes along with that sort of reprobate-like behavior. But here is a nice shot from the lovely room over the Commons that we rented for the night! Thank you. Ladies of the Commons, for a beautiful place to stay while vacationing in Eastport, Maine. Also worth nothing is the fantastic authentic mexican food from Bank Square Pizza. Superb! 

We went home Sunday  after a great breakfast at the Blue Iris Bistro, thanks Laura and Amy!
Whenever I go back to Eastport, I just want to stay there. It is such an amazing place. There were so many people that we didn't get to see. How much can you do with 48 hours after all. Oh well. I heart U Eastport.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Moved to tears and chasing deers

 Crying in public.
Nobody wants to see that unless there is a tragedy going on.
It's just awkward.
So here is my problem: Music moves me to tears.
I could be driving the kids around wherever and some tune comes over the radio and it is just the right chord. Or some music playing in some shop. Forget about Yoga class music. Whatever those particular frequencies are trigger the sap centers of my brain and I will get seriously choked up and teary eyed. I cringe just thinking about it.  News report soundtracks for chrissakes!  It doesn't take much. I even choke myself up. And this is a real issue here. I choke myself up when I play music. I mean it. I have choked up over twinkle twinkle before.
So there I was on Saturday at the Salem Farmer's market, with my instruments and books and puppets, settling down to entertain the people, and I pull out a song that my mum used to sing when we were kids. I open my mouth to sing and all of a sudden a lump rushes up my gullet and my eyes yoink with tears and I have to play the intro 5 or 6 times before I get it together enough to sing the thing. This then happened with the next somg and the next until I could mentally beat the impulse back into the misfiring brain nodule from whence it came. How embarrassing. I would join crybabies anonymous but I can't stand watching people cry in public.

Last week was great fun at the Massabesic Audobon Center. We go there for what E & Z call "Outdoor Adventure School" They learned what it was like to be a deer in the winter. They started off trying to hop as far as deer can

Then we went out in the woods, first to find things that deer would eat, then to find good spots to ruminate and be protected from wolves. 
 Then the kids got to be wolves and hunt down the deer (Miss. Kim, their teacher).
 Emma wolf on high alert.
 Zac wolf was mostly concerned with keeping up
 Back at the classroom making our Deer craft

Grandma Lynne and Grandpa Bob got the kids gymnastics lessons for Christmas. They have been doing headstands and somersaults ever since. I am just happy that I have found something that can wear out the Zacker.