Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Chewbones roasting on an open fire

Squirrels begging for their lives
Tasty morsels hiding in the kitchen trash
And shoes scattered on the floor.

. . . . Although it's been said many times, many ways,
A very Puppy Christmas for you.

We still miss you, Masha! Even though we're getting ready to adopt a new puppy this spring, we will never forget you. Our hearts are full of warm memories from so many happy years with you.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

the lamb lies down in my knitting bag

Well, we've moved into the new home, we're mostly unpacked, and we've worked it out with Mike to finish the attic starting late in January. We're also officially approved homeschoolers in Tyngsboro (a Massachusetts town that actually sends an approval letter!). The town does have a rather obnoxious, over-reaching form, but they backed down with just a politely worded letter (explaining why it would be an exercise in poor judgment for us to give them information to which they were not legally entitled) and a printout of AHEM's "Info for Superintendents" brochure. I'm thrilled with Tyngsboro's library, too; they have an excellent children's section -- I swear it's more comprehensive than Chelmsford's children's library, in spite of the cramped space.

Our neighborhood is a very young one, since all the homes are new construction. The girls have made several friends, and Dan & I definitely don't miss that sense of entitlement that had us constantly rolling our eyes. Just in time, too -- I'd have hated for my eyes to stick that way!

Most interesting of all is the fact that I've taken up knitting. I used to see people knitting and think to myself, "Oh, how quaint!" Now? I take my knitting projects everywhere, in the hopes that I get stuck with a long wait. I've made a few obligatory dishcloths, then moved on to a baby cap for my nephew-to-be. Now, I'm working on ponchos for the girls. So call me quaint, but I'm loving knitting!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Hotel Massachusetts

Well, 1 Prancing is no longer ours! I drove by yesterday with the girls, so they could wave goodbye and remind the house that we loved it and made lots of awesome memories there. I really hope the new owners made it to the block party -- it was a really fun way for us to meet the neighbors, our first year there.

We, however, are technically homeless (thank goodness for PO Boxes!). We found a moderately priced extended-stay hotel with 1 bedroom, a pull-out sofa, a little kitchenette, and free laundry. So far, we've been putting the girls to bed in the bedroom, so Dan & I can work on the usual Grownup Stuff in the evenings, and then switching them to the pullout when we are ready for bed. They really like sleeping on the pullout!

I've got activities all over the calendar, as well as the previously-scheduled trips to Wisconsin (Hooray for grandparents and state fairs!) and Disney World (Yay, Carolina Homeschoolers!) peppered in for good measure, so it's my steadfast hope that the girls (and we) do not go stir-crazy. Plus, Voyagers and first grade start after we get back from Disney World.

Friday, July 24, 2009

What can I dooooo? All I want is to be next to you!

It's been a hard week, with Dan in California on business and the girls down in Virginia with my parents so they're not bored out of their minds while I pack up the house. A few times this week, I've had to go pick up Masha's urn and hug it. Twice I thought the throw pillow in the center of the bed was her, snuggled up to me. It doesn't help, either, that the packing is going more slowly than I'd like it. Everything I pick up seems to be something that needs to be dismantled, wrapped in paper, encased in bubble-wrap or some combination of the above. I think I've finally gotten through most of that (except the dishes), so now it's on to the part where I can just fill boxes with clothing and toiletries and home-improvement stuff. I miss my husband, I miss my girls, and I miss my dog.

Saturday, July 4, 2009


So the girls had their first campout ever on Thursday night. They didn't just survive -- they had a blast! I guess we've officially entered the Land of Sleepovers. They've also made it clear that next summer, they want to go to more than one week of Girl Scout camp. They are full of all sorts of camp songs -- one or two of which I even remember from my own Girl Scout camp days. Hermy the Worm, however, is a new one. "Hermy, baby! WHAT HAPPENED!?""I ate my Mom."

Yesterday was pretty crazy-busy. Dan & I did a few more drive-bys (the real estate kind, people!), then zipped over to pick up the girls, get Emma changed into her hip-hop costume, and rushed over to the Chemlsford town common. She did her performance, we hung around for dinner, and then rushed off to Bear Hill Farm. At least, since we were 10 minutes late, we caught Anne in the fields, picking snap peas. Penny & Emma were thrilled to see her! Then off to do a few more drive-bys, while the girls ate ice cream (oh, the torture!). We did two more drive-bys today, and have one more tomorrow; then Monday we start looking. So much for 5-year plans, huh?

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

camp rocks

Well, Monday's been an eventful day. But I'm not discussing that. Instead, I'll talk about my kids.

Being the unsocalized homeschoolers that we are, this morning we packed the girls' new backpacks, fed them a proper breakfast, stocked their lunch bags, filled their sport bottles and thermoses, and sent them off to their first day of Girl Scout Camp. It's an all-day camp, and they even got to ride a school bus (so cool). In spite of the on-again, off-again rain, they had a blast, and when I met the bus at 5 o'clock they emerged almost triumphantly, awash in smiles and information. There is stuff to buy (of course!) and they got t-shirts today, and there is a sleepover night on Thursday, and and and . . . They're very geeked about the sleepover night, so since the camp director said I can pick Emma up for her hip-hop rehearsal then bring her back for the campout, we're going to sign them up. Oh. My. God. This means slumber parties are looming in my near future. Nooooooooooooooo!

Friday, February 6, 2009

post without a witty title

Have you seen the commercial for Rosetta Stone? I know the software is popular, and I've heard it's effective, but the commercial gets me every time.

An attractive woman strolls casually through an immaculate home that just happens to have the Rosetta Stone package sitting all alone on a lovely glass-topped table, nowhere near a computer. She delivers her lines with a look on her face that tells you she doesn't buy any of your excuses. "Are you one of those people who think you just can't learn a new language? It's not that you can't learn . . . "

Now, tell me, don't you just hear your parents finishing that sentence over and over again, regarding algebra, world history, geography, spelling, chemistry, or whatever subject it was in school that tortured you day in, day out? And they never finished that sentence in a way that made your mental block someone else's fault, did they? It was never the teacher, or the text book, was it? Nope, it was always your fault you couldn't learn That Subject.

Of course, the Attractive Woman Selling Rosetta Stone goes on to assure you that if you just tried this software, you could dance linguistic circles around Dr. Daniel Jackson ("I speak twenty-four languages. Pick one.").

But let's insert some reality, shall we? After all, she's probably somebody's mother. "It's not that you can't learn, it's that you won't learn." If you would just turn off the radio and crack those books . . . If you would shut off the tv and get started, already . . . If you would quit wasting time on the internet and do something productive, for a change . . . If you would just buckle down and apply yourself . . . you would finally master Spanish/French/German/Mandarin/Russian/Japanese/Swahili once and for all.

Hmmm. Then again, I'm the kid that got in trouble for reading in school.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

You Say it's Your Birthday . . .

Well, it's my birthday, too! (Okay, not mine, but . . .)

Yep, Penny and Emma are six today. Before they went to bed, they spent a fair amount of time ruckusing around in their room because, in Penny's words, "that way, we'll be tired and fall asleep so the night won't be as long." (You may think that the longest night of the year is December 21st, but it's actually February 3rd. Now you know.) They've also agreed to wake each other up in the morning. According to Emma, whichever one of them wakes up first will go over to the other girl and say, "Hey, [that girl's name], open presents!"

We've left their gifts for each other in the dining room, so they have something to tear into first thing. Oh, and there will be their big pink banner in the living room and two giant "6" balloons. The rest of the loot will have to wait until the evening. Oh, and dinner at the Moose Place (Bugaboo Creek) about which we've already said we'll be okay -- we promised to not die of embarassment -- if they want to have the staff come out with the giant moose puppet and a dessert and sing to them. Which, being 6, they want. So.

Happy birthday, Munchkins! Being your mom is the coolest, most perpetually satisfying thing I've ever done. I love you.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Masha Moments

It's been a few weeks, now, since Masha died, and we are all still stumbling upon Masha Moments quite often. There was no doggie clumsily wading through the wrapping paper on Christmas morning in search of more chewbones; no furry, wagging body hovering beside me as I cut up the leftover rib roast; no warm snoring lump to keep the blanket from falling off the bed; no need to leave the lights on before we left home for an afternoon and evening of shopping . . . .

When I woke up on Christmas Eve morning, my eyes were still stinging and red from crying the day before. I still sometimes burst into tears. Emma made a Christmas card for Masha which said, "Merry Christmas Masha. I sure miss you." She left it with Santa's cookies.

I finally picked up her dog bowls and doggie placemat as we packed for our trip to DC. There was too much room in the car, this trip -- no need to bring the crate or coax a little water into her at each potty break. I called Asia "Masha" a few times our first night with my parents.

Of course both girls are already looking forward, somewhat, to whatever new dog we will eventually adopt; they do understand, though, that Dan and I need quite a bit more time to be ready for another dog. They understand that there will never be another Masha. In the meantime, we've decided to start visiting NEADS for Puppy Petting -- because we do miss the smell of puppy paws, wet fur, dog slobber . . . .