Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Monday, October 29, 2012

Oh Sandy

Our morning "go outside before the wind and rains start" outing. Got to watch the recycling truck pick-up. #score

So first an earthquake, now a hurricane? Not inspiring a whole lot of confidence, East Coast...

In all seriousness, we're doing just fine over here.  I think we're far away enough from the storm's reach that all we'll get is some rain and wind.  Quinn and I got out for a bit this morning for to enjoy some fresh air and a few flashes of sunlight before the weekfull of rain that is predicted ahead. It was quite a nice outing, actually-- we got to watch the recycling truck do its pickup at the community dumpster (that's what he's watching so intently in the pic above), then ran into some friends and spent the rest of the morning hanging out with them.  A high wind advisory was to start at 2pm this afternoon, so after lunch I went ahead and picked D up early from school so we wouldn't have to be on the roads if the high winds started, and then cleared the crap off our porch just in case while the boys played at our neighbor's for a short while (weather like this makes me extra super glad to have friends within such easy walking distance).  We were supposed to go to a halloween party & trick-or-treating on campus this afternoon, but it got postponed till next week because of the weather so we instead we spent the afternoon just hanging out at home (thankfully, with minimal tears/whininess).

It's been windy but not too strong yet. The rain started in the late afternoon and will probably continue all through tomorrow, and likely the rest of the week.  Which means we might not get to do trick-or-treating on Wednesday. =(  I suppose if that's the worst part of having a hurricane go through nearby, that's not too bad. 

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Halloween 2012, part 1: As You Wish

I really like Halloween, especially thinking up and putting together costumes. They usually look way better in my head than in real life, but whatever. I think one of my favorite costumes was when I dressed as Jem (of The Holograms) several years ago, and I personally thought my Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly maternity costume two years ago was brilliant even if only about 3 people recognized it.  (Maybe if/when I learn to sew one day I can actually make recognizable costumes....)

Zach and I wanted to do a couples costume for the Tuck Halloween party and wanted it to be good-- costumes are a bit of a "thing" here.  We finally settled on Wesley and Buttercup from The Princess Bride (aka one of the best movies OF ALL TIME). I found pieces for our outfits, but really wanted to have a large stuffed rodent to put it all together... Then about an hour before the party last night I had a stroke of genius (humor me) and with some brown packing tape, a ping ping ball, and pipe cleaners I turned our ikea stuffed hippo into an ROUS. Which really did pull it all together-- a lot of people didn't really know who/what we were till they saw the ROUS. But we did get a few squeals of recognition and approval, which was pretty awesome. The party itself was fun, the costumes made it a bit tough to recognize people (especially since I don't see that many of the Tuck students very often) but the costumes were great.  I think my favorites were Rainbow Brite and Obama's Kenyan birth certificate.

Tuck Halloween party- here we go. #asyouwish

Next week it'll be the boys' turn to show off their costumes-- we have an indoor halloween party and on-campus trick-or-treating tomorrow, and then and parade through the neighborhood and more trick-or-treating on Wednesday.... as long as Hurricane Sandy doesn't interfere.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

six word sunday: Cute now. Terrifying in ten years.

And then they ran upstairs to her room and climbed in bed together. #TOOSOON

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

And just like that... *poof*

About 2-3 weeks ago:

And now the leaves are falling... His tree is changing colors.

And yesterday:
#latergram The boys playing with a neighbor yesterday. Sad to see all the leaves gone. =(

Note also the dearth of leaves on the ground, even.  They fell from the trees, and I swear within days they got swept/blown/gathered up. I didn't even see anyone come do it, they were just there one day and gone the next. 

I have to admit, I'm a little bummed.  We did get a pretty decent "fall" in Sacramento-- our neighborhood was lined with massive trees, and although it didn't happen till December they did turn brilliant colors and then fall, and I have great memories from last winter of the boys making a huge pile of leaves and jumping/running through it and just having a blast.  When we moved here, I looked at all the trees and figured we'd get to do that all over again... and totally missed our chance.  It does look like there's a second wave of trees turning right now, so maybe we'll go scout out some locations of freshly fallen leaves and try to fit in some leaf play before they are all gone, too.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

So what's business school been like so far?

We're now about halfway through the fall semesters -- the shorter Fall A term ended the first days of this month, and Zach is now about 2 weeks into Fall B.  The early stages of recruiting are well underway, where companies and organizations from all over the country come to campus to hold info sessions and informal meetings with students.  Zach has found a few organizations that he's really interested in, and decided several others are just not for him, and is narrowing down his focus for where he will apply for his summer internship (a process that I think begins in a couple months).

If there was one thing we were repeatedly warned about at Tuck, it was how hectic and busy the Fall A and B semesters would be.  And yeah, it's basically been true.  The coursework is decent on its own, but then when you combine that with recruiting, school social activities, networking, etc, it gets kinda ridiculous. Each weekday we drop Zach off at school at 8am on our way to D's school. He makes a point to try to be home at 5:30-6pm when he can, but on average he'll have about 2-3 nights a week when he'll stay on campus through the evening because of events or projects going on, so I'll be on my own for dinner & kiddo bedtime.  Which is challenging, but manageable.  What's been a little harder to get used to is that even when he's home after school we don't get much time together- he'll have a few hours of homework still to do in the evening and so usually ends up staying up way past when I've gone to bed, then in the morning I'm up with the boys while he tries to get a bit of extra rest.  It sounds like a silly thing but I do miss us going to sleep at the same time. He no longer has class on Fridays, but so far has still had plenty to do so it's basically just another class day from my perspective. Weekends are better, though between homework, chores, errands, and trying to squeeze in a bit of "family time" they get filled up quick.  One of the first lessons in business school was on time management and how you simply can't do everything because it's impossible, so he's been pretty choosy about what he will or won't attend or participate in (eg- no hockey this season, and about 1/10th the trips to Murphy's of his child-free classmates...) but even then it's a pretty jam-packed schedule.

All in all, it's pretty much what I expected. I sometimes find myself getting frustrated at Zach for not being around more, but then again we're paying a crapload of money to be here and I want him to get as much out of school as he can. It is what it is, and by spring the load should ease up a bit (or so I am told). In the meantime, the boys and I are keeping busy playing with new friends and enjoying the awesome weather when we get it (we've had alternating days/weeks of rain and glorious sunshine, and everyone keeps bringing up how it snowed on Halloween last year so I'm trying to take advantage of every warm, sunny day we get as much as possible... it kinda borders on desperation, if I'm honest). We did have a really great weekend yesterday and today, Zach didn't have much school work to do so we got to hang out all together lots. That was really nice. If we get a weekend like this one every few weeks I think we'll be good.

six word sunday: The Golden Hour on the Green

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This was more like the Golden Five Minutes. We walked up to the Dartmouth Green to let the kids run around a bit before dinner, and got there right as the sun was shining this amazing light onto the trees. Then not two minutes after I snapped some pictures with my phone, the sun ducked behind a cloud and that was it. I felt very fortunate to get there and capture the amazingness before it was gone.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

today {10.18.12}

Quinn likes to set up his own "car crushes" using his toy cars. It's kinda hilarious to watch him do this.  He makes the engine roaring noises and everything.
I love how he makes his own "car crush" shows with his monster truck.
The sky today. It's hard to believe that 55F can feel downright warm, but with the sun shining and hardly a breeze I was out in short sleeves in the late morning/early afternoon.  It was a glorious day.  
New England sky. 
My new pink softshell. It should help protect me from wind, rain, and hunters who might otherwise mistake me for a deer or bear in the woods. Yes, there is hunting back there. Apparently. We've gotten an alarming warning email or two. I'm not that concerned since the trail has a good bit of human traffic -- tons of runners, and several of the med students use it to walk to the hospital-- but yeah. See also D's red hat, below. As for Quinn, well, I guess I expect his noise level to be the biggest warning sign? 
New bright pink jacket so I don't get confused for a deer or bear in the woods. #huntingseason #lifeintheboonies 
 We started our nature walk with a friend and her baby, but alas little dudes on short legs travel at much slower pace than adults so it quickly became just me and the boys.  Was still a nice walk.  The wagon and dump truck did a lot of off-roading and crashing into things.  You know, your usual peaceful walk through the forest.
A boy and his wagon. Oh just another peaceful walk in the woods...(filled with crashing & sibling annoyances)

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

on earthquakes and a new montessori post

We just had an earthquake tonight. Yes, here in New Hampshire...well, technically in Maine but we felt it over here. Ironically, I think it's the strongest earthquake I've really felt, more so than any we had in California (Ok, I have some very faint memories of a couple strong earthquakes in Chile as a kid).  The boys were up, in the next room over when it happened, and I heard Donovan yell out, "WHAT was THAT?!" He didn't sound scared, but definitely surprised.

Then he said this: "Maybe someone got so so man that they stomped their feet in Spain, and that's what caused the earthquake."  Hah. Good theory, kiddo.  So then we had a short chat about tectonic plates and fault lines and what causes earthquakes, so that was a cool teachable moment. He did seem a little concerned about making sure our house didn't fall down...

In other news, I have a new post up at the Montessori website: A Morning Observing in a Montessori Classroom.  As the title implies, it's a description of observing one morning in D's old classroom in Sacramento.  I was able to do so a handful of times last year, and felt wowed each time-- there is something so cool and amazing and almost magical about walking into a classroom of 3-6 year olds who are all busy and working, doing their own thing, totally engaged.  I'm giving D a few more weeks to settle into his new school and then I hope to observe there soon, too.  Even if your kids aren't in a Montessori school, if you have one nearby I definitely encourage you to ask about a chance to observe in the classroom.  It can be quite an experience.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Oh hello there, winter. Here so soon?

This is what we woke up to this morning...

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I joked a week or two ago about how cold it needed to get before I could pull out my hardcore winter jacket without looking like a total wuss. I figured 24*F was cold enough. I don't care which northerners make fun of me for it, I'm pretty sure this jacket is gonna be my best friend this winter.

Friday, October 12, 2012

trying to be "good enough"


Lately I feel like I'm having trouble shaking this feeling of insecurity as a parent. I swear I dealt with this better a few years ago, when I just had Donovan and he was younger.  I mean, I still felt like an incompetent parent a lot of the time and had no clue what I was doing, but I at least felt good about the toys I chose for him, the sorts of things we did together, our loose and free routine.

But now it seems I keep coming across people and blogs who are doing all these cool activities with their kids and I'll think, "Wow, that's so neat!  And, um... I'm not doing anything like that with my own kids.... Shit, are they totally missing out?" This is my love/hate relationship with Montessori parenting blogs- I'll find them and initially love them for the inspiration, then as I read new posts and see these great ideas that I never get around to implementing they just become a reminder of my perceived failings as a parent.

It also doesn't help that the past few times I've taken Donovan to the doctor I've had to fill out a form asking about his abilities, and a lot of the questions will be about things we've just never done. Can he fasten his own buttons? Draw a person with three complete parts? Copy a cross? Um, my guess is sure but I've never even thought to ask him to do any of that stuff (I'm not sure any of his clothes even have buttons), and he hasn't just done it on his own.  And so then I feel like a crap parent because my kid has never done these things that must be so totally normal and common.  Is it my fault? Am I not encouraging them enough or providing them with enough enriching activities?  Will they miss out on something essential because I didn't think to play the right kind of games with them or try to get them to draw the right kinds of things?

And I know this is all ridiculous.  I laughed at myself just writing that paragraph because it just sounds so silly when I write it out like that.  I know I'm a good mom, I know we do cool things together, I know my kids have SO MUCH and are bright and amazing and wonderful. When I watch them and listen to them and am wowed by them I have no reason whatsoever to think they're "missing out" on anything.

And yet. I know comparing kids or parenting styles or individual strengths vs weaknesses is fruitless. I've always embraced the idea of the "good enough" parent, that perfection is not only unattainable but not even necessarily desirable.  Yet I still find myself bogged down by this nagging insecurity sometimes, this fear that I'm not doing enough.  That I'm failing my kids somehow.

I know I must not be alone in this. How do you deal with that fear?

Monday, October 08, 2012

Tuck Fall Formal

A couple weekends ago Zach and I went to the Tuck Fall Formal.  I've been looking forward to this event since I first heard of it months ago.  Most of the time I'm pretty casual-- I'm in awe of moms with small kids who manage to still look nice every day (major kudos), here comfort wins over style the vast majority of the time. My daily uniform is jeans and a t-shirt, and I wear makeup about 5 times a year.  BUT, I do really enjoy getting all dressed up and pretty every once in a while, and my opportunities to put on a nice dress and heels are few and far between.

My excitement over the formal waned a bit when I found out it would be held outdoors, under a party tent, on an evening that was predicted to be about 40 degrees F. Oh, and it rained for several days beforehand. We got an email the day of warning that to reach the tent we'd have to walk down a muddy path, so dress appropriately.  Erm.... huh.

But, we still went for it (already had the sitter lined up, right?). So after the kids fell asleep I threw on my fancy dress and rain boots (with my heels in a canvas shopping bag), Zach put on his suit (fun fact: it's our wedding suit, he's gotten a lot of mileage outta that thing) and walked down to the community center to await our shuttle. See, there wasn't any available parking on location so Tuck provided us with transportion via bright yellow school bus.

To sum up: that Friday night there were about 500 20- and 30-somethings dressed in semi/formal wear and mud boots, riding yellow school buses to a party on a muddy riverbank under a tent. Why, yes, business school does at times feel a bit like College 2.0...

All this aside, the party itself was pretty fun.  Once under the tent, the lights and people (and dancing) kept everyone plenty warm. Some people stayed in their boots, some of us changed into heels and dress shoes.  They had a live band so after grabbing an initial drink and chatting with a few friends, Zach and I headed to the "dance floor" (raised wooden platform, to differentiate from the regular floor of muddy grass) and had a grand time dancing the night away-- another favorite activity I rarely get to partake in.  I was happy to see several of the other Tuck moms also out and dancing their butts off.

Since it was an outdoor party, it ended early- 11pm. Totally fine by me, honestly.  We trudged back up the hill, took the bus home, arrived in time to find Quinn awake and watching TV with the sitter who I then drove home before putting Q back to bed, and in the end I think I made it to bed myself by about 2am...and up with the kiddoes at 5 (Zach was a wee bit hung over, so).  If you had asked me then whether the night was worth it, I probably would have said heck no I should have stayed home and slept.  Now that a bit of time has passed, I am glad we went.  The timing for other Tuck events makes it difficult for me to join (ie- many are right over kiddo dinner & bedtime), so I like making it to some of the parties that happen once the kids are asleep so I can have a chance to hang out with Zach's school buddies every once in a while.

Here's the one half-decent picture we got from the night:

Our one decent pic from fall formal.

Friday, October 05, 2012

New England Colors, California Weather

I know, I know, this is getting obnoxious.  BUT I'm pretty sure we're in the middle of peak fall foliage around here, and I figure any day now all the leaves are just gonna fall off the trees and we may only have a few weeks left before the first snowfall. So I'm trying to capture how utterly gorgeous it is right now, and of course if I take pretty pictures they MUST be shared because I can't help myself.

Untitled Untitled So, so pretty today. Afternoon light. So gorgeous.

Today was a sunny, warm, absolutely incredibly gorgeous day.  It was about 75 degrees today. I wore a t shirt and flip flops.  It was the kind of day where, if Zach had been in town, he would've made his usual jokes about how wouldn't it be great to live someplace where the weather is just like this 9 months of the year. After a week straight of cold rain and clouds, today felt GLORIOUS.  

We took advantage of it as much as we could. As soon as the morning fog burned off, Quinn and I went on a good long walk.  I brought my big camera along and took a bunch of pictures that need to be properly looked at and sorted through, though funnily enough I think the ones above taken with my phone may be my favorites of the day. Q was tired, so much so that he refused to get out of the stroller and just wanted me to keep on walking, so that's what we did for a good hour or two and then went home where he napped till school pick-up at noon.  Once home again we had a quick snack and then went out the door again by about 1pm and I wouldn't let them think of coming back inside till it was after 5pm.  It was just too pretty, too nice, and looking at the forecast I wouldn't be surprised if this is our last really nice, warm day for a good long while-- next week it should be a good 20 degrees cooler than today, with it getting close to freezing overnight and I'm not sure it'll get a whole lot warmer again as October moves along. So, they played in the mud, then at the playground, then a bit more with our neighbors, and finally called it a day.  It was a good one.

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Into the Woods: Fall Edition

Are you sick of these posts yet? It won't hurt my feelings if you skip this, I promise. I took these on Tuesday afternoon after realizing that we hadn't been back into the woods since last month and figured was about time for another venture.  Donovan wanted to just play in the mud under his tree again, but we convinced him to go by promising he could play in the mud by the stream in the woods. So off we went, me snapping pictures and ignoring Zach's teasing about the slow pace of a walk with a photographer...

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Unfortunately, before we quite realized it "playing in the mud by the stream" quickly became "walk INTO the stream and get your entire lower body completely soaked." So that was fun. Oh well, being cold and wet are only temporary conditions, right? Next time I'll remember the cardinal rule to always bring a towel.
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By the way, you know you live in the country when you get an email warning that the woods we've been frolicking in are now OPEN FOR HUNTING so please wear bright colors when you go walking in them. (Quinn's got the right idea, the rest of us need to work on it a bit, it seems)

As another aside, it is now October.  It is not unheard of for it to snow here in October. Which means it could snow this month. Which kinda boggles my mind.

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

fall leaves and muddy playdates

Remember how I wrote last week about enjoying the glorious weather we'd been having? Yeah, it's a good thing we did because it's been gloomy and rainy since about then.

The trees keep on changing colors and it continues to be gorgeous, though I'm hoping for some more sun again soon because the foliage really pops when hit by that golden late afternoon light.  For now, iphone pictures from cloudy, dreary days will have to do.

#latergram Yesterday afternoon. The colors are getting super bright, and I'm praying for a sunny day soon for better pictures. (It's been rainy & gray a lot lately) His tree is changing colors. Playing soccer with the neighbors.

Zach just finished Fall A (his first semester, only 4 weeks long), then left this morning for a school/recruiting-related trip for a few days.  The boys and I had a decent day-- Quinn and I had a date this morning with a new friend who's quickly becoming one of my new favorite people, then this afternoon D & Q had a grand ole time playing in the mud under their favorite tree with our neighbors.  Dinner and bedtime went pretty horridly, but hey the morning & afternoon were fun...
Enjoying a break from the rain....getting filthy playing in mud. Mud play Muddy boy.


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