Wednesday, April 29, 2009

A Weekend in Brunswick, Part II

On our trip back to Maine last weekend, we were glad to be able to spend some good time with my Dad at the house.

James loves to visit his Grandpaw, because he gets to play with all sorts of great things. My Dad has a collection of antique duck decoys, and for whatever reason, James is fascinated with them. He calls them "dekes" and is usually carrying one around the house the whole time we are there.

This time though, his Grandpaw had put some vintage bats and gloves aside for him. James is clearly becoming a southpaw, and we will be encouraging him to pitch for the Red Sox!

As you can see, there are no aluminum bats for this boy--I guess when he gets big enough for tee-ball he'll have a good swing!

Ella had a great time visiting, too, even though she is a little touchy around Dad. That was the way James was with my Mom--so now I guess it's Dad's turn!

We were talking about how Mom always thought that I needed to have started Ella on baby food sooner (Mom would have been giving Ella apricots immediatley after her birth, LOL.) Anyhow, I was wondering what her weight was, and wouldn't you know it, Dad has a vintage baby scale in the house!

I mean, really, I guess I shouldn't find it that surprising--given all the great stuff he has!

Turns out she loved it! And, she weighs 17 pounds. She is getting to be a little chunker! I love a fat baby! Take a look at these thighs!

Did I mention in the previous post that we went back to Danny's for hotdogs and Cote's for ice cream on Sunday? Yup. Can't get enough of that good, hometown food. Next time we'll be hitting Fat Boys Drive-In, and James will get to see his Auntie Amy car-hopping!

Next installment--our trip on the Airline Rail Trail!

Monday, April 27, 2009

A Weekend in Brunswick, Part I

We headed up to Maine on Saturday and enjoyed a quiet and sunny weekend with my Dad and sister. Our plans were to hit Danny's on the town green for hotdogs, Cote's a little further up Maine Street (yes, it is spelled M-A-I-N-E) for ice cream and then spend the rest of the day with Dad at the house.

James and I people watching.

I just love spending a few hours on the town green in Brunswick. It brings back all sorts of great childhood memories--and I am happy to be able to make new memories with my own kids.

Ella enjoying the sunshine.

The town green is like many quintessential New England town greens--it extends nearly all the way down Maine Street and has a large pavilion on one end where bands play during the summer. In the winter the town floods part of it for ice skating.

One of the elegant old homes that line the green.

Brunswick's town green is always teeming with a mix of families with young children playing ball, older residents of the town enjoying ice cream on a bench, Bowdoin college kids out for an afternoon free from their studies, and tourists who will stand in line for a half an hour for a famous Danny's chili and cheese dog. This weekend, I was proud to count myself as a local who would stand in line just as long to support my local hotdog vendor!

A fun old car that cruised down for a day on the green.

My sister, Amy and I.

The famous "Maine Street" sign.

Danny's red and white trailer has been a fixture on the green for as long as I can remember. He only serves steamed hot dogs and cheeseburgers hot off the grill, and chips and soda--but that is IT. And let me tell you, there is only one place that rivals a Danny's hotdog in my opinion, and that is the White Hut in West Springfield, MA. (But--those are grilled, so it is a totally different hot dog experience!)

Pure hotdog heaven.

Over the years other trailers pop up on the mall, this year there was one selling fresh squeezed lemonade, and another selling tacos. They never had more than a couple of tourists at them. We overheard a couple ask the guy managing the lemonade / hotdog stand why there were upwards of 40 people patiently standing in line a few feet away at the Danny's trailer, and he said, "A 25 year habit is tough to break, I guess.) HE'S RIGHT!

We spotted a Maine Black Bear on Maine Street!

Anyhow, we got our dogs, scoped out a bench and had a great time people watching. There were tons of dogs--big ones, like the Newfoundland pictured above, small ones, you name it--playing frisbee, lounging in the sun, hoping for a bite of a Danny's dog.

The crazy line for ice cream at Cote's.

Next we headed up the street to Cote's ice cream. They make their own (I can't imagine in the 12" x 12" shack that they sell it out of) and it is awesome. Ever had Grapenut ice cream? Gifford's and Shady Glen are the only other places I've seen it--but I like Cote's the best. Chris had some kind of ice cream with WHOLE Reeses PB cups in it. Amy got the mint choc chip, and James had some soft serve vanilla. Oh yeah, and we did it all over again on Sunday!!!!!

Chris and I soaking it all in.

What a fantastic day. I love my hometown. I'll post Part II of this entry next!

Friday, April 24, 2009

What Nice Teefers!

James had his very first dentist appointment! I was pretty nervous that he might freak out, but he did just fine.

Thank goodness for dental hygenists that are patient and kind and know how to take a kid's mind off of what is going on! Everything looks great!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Earth Day

Riding in the car the other morning, James says,
"Mommy, I love the Earf."
I smile and say, "I love the Earth too, baby."

Happy Earth Day.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Thank You Douglas Library in Hebron!

On our last trip to the library, we learned that as card holders we are eligible to receive free and discounted passes to 21 museums, parks and zoos in Connecticut and Rhode Island. We took advantage of the program on Saturday and visited the Connecticut Trolley Museum in Windsor Locks.

Regular adult admission is $8, and $5 for kids. We saved $21! (And then spent $7 at Dairy Cream for our first ice cream of the season!)

Other great destinations that we will be taking advantage of this year will be the Connecticut River Museum, Dinosaur State Park, the Mark Twain House, Mystic Aquarium and the Roger Williams Zoo!

Many thanks to "Friends of the Library" a local group that makes this program possible for library card holders!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Simply Irresistable

My girl is growing up, and like Moms all over the world, I would like to freeze her in time for a little while, so that I might have more time to appreciate her at this age.

Since I can't actually pump her full of coffee to stunt her growth, I'll just have to be satisfied with snapping photos like crazy. So, enjoy--a little Ella smorgasbord-sweetness from this morning!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

A Hopeful Garden

If I look out my kitchen door, I see a great opportunity--my new garden. I was very excited when we looked at our house when I found a nice garden bed about 20" x 30" that had been built into a slight raise in the yard and flanked on three sides by a short stone wall.

I don't know how long it has been dormant, but not too long--as not much grass has had an opportunity to take hold. I have been wanting to double-spade it to turn the earth over, but my husband is insisting that we borrow a rototiller from a friend. I am okay with that--he wants to take care of me, and I love him for it.

My Dad always had a garden for as long as I can remember. His gardens were, in a word, magnificent.

Mom, Amy, Dad and me, about 1979

I have no intention of having an enormous garden--not yet. His advice to me has been to start simple, and that is what I am going to do. A few Heirloom tomatoes, some cukes, a couple of green beans, carrots and onions and some sunflowers for James. Maybe some marigolds and some basil, too.

The last few months have been difficult, to say the least. But--I am seeing a light ahead. I have been talking with my husband, my Dad, my sister about my grief--how it waxes and wanes, and how everything seems to be framed within it. Things that shouldn't bother me at all cut deeply and I cry at night about them. Other things that should hurt like hell just leave me numb.

I know that the people that love me recognize that I need some time to step back into the world.

With their continued support, I think I'll step into my garden first.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Cardinals and American Goldfinches

The birds continue to entertain us at the feeders, and we almost hold our breath in the mornings when we come down and look outside, hoping to see someone new!

We have a pair of cardinals that visit us regularly. Aren't they gorgeous?

On my weekend walks I have found a low, marshy area where I believe that several pairs are living. It is really a beautiful sight--to see the red birds flitting through the trees.

And here are the American Goldfinches. On Easter Sunday I saw three of them on the feeder at once.

If you remember this post--when we first saw this bird we would have never known how brilliant it's plumage was to become. Their feathers turn bright yellow twice a year when they molt.

We also saw two new birds on Easter Sunday, a Chipping Sparrow and a House Finch. I was able to get photos of the Sparrow, but the House Finch was only on the feeder for a few seconds. What brilliant feathers!

About a week ago we were startled to see a large bird with unusual markings--it was also gone before we could get a photo of it--turns out it was a Red-Bellied Woodpecker. If you have never seen one, Google Image it--AMAZING!

So far, our list of bird sightings include:

Hairy Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Tufted Titmouse
Eastern Bluebird
Pine Siskin
American Goldfinch
Red-Bellied Woodpecker
Carolina Wren
Wild Turkey
Morning Dove
Chipping Sparrow
House Finch

We are so enthralled with this new hobby--more so than I think either of us expected to be!

And take a peek at my great new widget below from "Link Within"!! I have been scrolling through old posts all morning--you can see how it grabs old posts that are related to the one you just wrote. I loved the links to last year's Easter Bunny photo with James. PRICELESS!!

Get your own! I learned about this from my Bloggy friend over at Flip Flops and Applesauce. Thanks Chrissie!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Another Fun Spring Craft

I try to do a craft with James every day. It is special time for just he and I, and he really looks forward to it. I get great inspiration from around the web, but yesterday came up with an idea of my own.

I have wanted to put up a banner for Spring. I also have a ton of leftover scrapbooking paper that I need to use up. James loves to glue right now, and so I drew big letters on cardstock, and cut scraps of paper for him to glue. (I did the gluing this time and he did the sticking).

This was fun because we were able to have fun and learn at the same time--sounding out letters, spelling, and talking about what season it is.

After we finished gluing, I cut the letters out and hole punched them to hang. James inserted pipe cleaners to hang them from a ribbon we ran across the mantel in the livingroom.

How much fun is this? Tomorrow we are going to make some ducks and butterflies and flowers to hang in between the letters.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Sunny Sunday

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Yay for Spring!

(Thanks for the butterfly net, Dad.)

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Hat Parade!

Get your silly hat and join us for a hat parade!
See you in the livingroom in five minutes!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Ella and Baby Food Jar Easter Craft

Catching up from yesterday: (I am NOT paying $20 a frickin' year for 10 Gigs of additional photo storage, I am NOT deleting any pics from my blog to make room, and so I am squeezing these downsized pics into the last 1000th of a gig I have left to do so. I still don't know what I am going to do, perhaps have a Tutta la Storia II?)

Anyhoo . . .

Here's my G.O.R.G.E.O.U.S. baby girl.

She is so proud of herself when she is up on all fours. It is a delight to watch.

Especially when she falls over and bonks her little head and then laughs.

My new bloggy friend Sarah over at Vintage Chic Home posted this great craft idea on her blog. I have been dying to do this--and it was a great way to repurpose the baby food jars I have been recycling.

OK, so yes, as Sarah mentioned, this craft is a little old for an almost 3 year-old (HOLY CRAP, did I just type "3 year-old"? Excuse me while I pass out.)

James did have a blast gluing in googly eyes and pom poms, and shaking the jars to get the paint distributed. And he laughed his butt off at the googly eyes. It just totally cracked him up.

Easter is on its way, and we are so excited! What fun crafty things are you doing with your kids to get ready for the big day?