Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Summer Recap: Misc

A few more summer memories:

Making clothespin mermaids

A visit from Aunt Molly and Luca


Meh-co Ponies

Lucia and Greta are still crazy about My Little Ponies. I ordered a lot of 27 small ones from eBay, and I've given them a few of them so far. Andrew went to Mexico City again a couple of weeks ago, and the girls hysterically requested that he bring back a "Mexico pony!!!!," so he gave them a couple ponies from that shipment. (Greta still calls them her "Meh-co ponies.")

Here's a picture the girls asked me to take to send to Andrew while he was away. They wanted to show him the ponies I surprised them with the day after he left. Anything to get through those long summer days...

Summer Recap: New Hampshire (August)

Our summer days in New Hampshire disappeared far too quickly this year. We have more trips ahead this fall, but the warm, lazy days of May through August are over now. Still, we had such an amazing time.

One of the highlights of our August trip included picking blueberries at a pick-your-own farm. You picked, you weighed, you put your money in a little slot. The girls loved it. Lucia was an exceptional picker; she picked nearly two gallons of berries, and would have kept picking for who knows how long if we'd had unlimited need for blueberries. Greta was a good picker too, but Greta really, really loves blueberries, and, like Little Sal, barely any berries actually made it into her bucket. She was strolling through the bushes, picking and eating, picking and eating. I don't blame her: they were delicious berries.

Another really fun thing from August was the boat Andrew found in the second barn. It was an old plastic rowboat with a dime-size hole in the outer shell, and there was an oar in the barn, too. We couldn't resist: we had to try it. Worst case, it would sink, and we'd swim to shore. Andrew took it out first; then I went out; even Lucia joined us a couple of times to explore the cattails on the far side of the pond. Greta, on the other hand, was terrified of the boat, and even now--over a month later--her first comment upon seeing any boat is, "That boat sink?" The boat did not sink while we were in it, but it did take on water rapidly, so we had only a limited time to row out and back. Then Andrew would pull the boat out, turn it on its side so it could drain, and we'd take it out once more.

There was a lot of feeding of the pond fish in August; looking for tadpoles, frogs, and salamanders; swimming in our cousin's pool; picking wildflowers; throwing stones in the pond; picking berries; and swinging in the swing Andrew made and hung in the apple tree.

We spent far too little time there this summer. (Well, we went three times, and one of those times was for ten days, so it wasn't that bad). It will be so different when we go back at the end of September.

Summer Recap: Annisquam (August)

One of our nicest trips this summer was to a beach cottage in Annisquam, MA, thanks to an invitation from a friend from Brooklyn. She, her two daughters, Lucia, Greta, and I spent a few days together at the beach house of a family member of hers, while Andrew and my friend's husband traveled for work.

I was nervous about the trip, mainly the drive up there, but Andrew and I worked it out so that the four of us spent the weekend before the trip in NH, and then I dropped Andrew off at the Manchester airport so he could fly to Mexico City for work; from there, I had only about an hour and a half drive to do on my own.

It was new for me, too, to be on my own with the girls in a new place--but we all had a great time. The beach was just a short walk from the house, and beautiful, with large rocks and tide pools and lots of treasures to hunt for. Lucia was in her glory, spending hours navigating the pools and collecting snails, shells, crab shells, claws, and seaweed. There was just one rainy day, which we spent at a nearby children's museum.

Andrew returned at the end of the week, flying into Boston and then taking a train to Rockport; it was just a short drive for me to pick him up, and he and the girls and I spent an extra night at the house after our friends left. It was a perfect final trip of the summer.

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

First Day of School

Two cute girls ready for their first day of preschool (Greta) and pre-K (Lucia). A new year, a new school--that we can walk to!

Sunday, September 07, 2014

Summer Recap: The Pool

We didn't get to use the community pool as much as we'd have liked this year. We were away so much--we were gone 20 days in July alone--and many of the days we were here were too cool for swimming. When we did go, however, the girls had a great time. This is our third summer of being pool members, and each year it's gotten easier to take the girls to the pool by myself. Our first summer, Greta wasn't even walking yet, so my pool time was mostly spent carrying Greta around while Lucia played, or letting Greta sit in the shallowest part of the kiddie pool. Last year was better, but still tough, since Greta wasn't all that steady on her feet while in the water. This year was the first year I could relax a little. Neither girl can swim yet, but they're both secure on their feet, and neither minds when their faces get wet. Lucia even willingly dunks her head under water. Both girls liked playing in the kiddie pool with buckets, paintbrushes, sharks, ponies, and Barbies. They also liked going into the middle pool, the "training pool," where we'd do "double dolphin"--make our way across the pool with one girl holding onto my back and another carried in my arms.

We had Lucia do four private swimming lessons this year with a lifeguard, but I don't think this was enough. She needs a regular weeks- or months-long class that's a little more intensive. I'm going to look into it for the fall. She really wants to do the waterslides in the big pool, but she needs much stronger swimming skills before she'll be able to do her deep water test (which you have to pass before you can go on the slides).

I'm nowhere near being one of the moms sitting in a chair in the shade, reading a book while the kids play in the water; but I can glimpse it, at least.

Pre-pool, Lucia and Greta in sarongs I made from a church-sale scarf

Monday, September 01, 2014

Letter to Greta: 34 Months

Dear Miss Miss,

Almost-three suits you. You have always been a cute, cuddly little girl, but you have taken your cuteness to new heights lately, growing and changing by leaps and bounds as you approach your third birthday.

You are completely potty trained: you wear a pull-up at naptime and at night, of course, but otherwise you are in underwear, and aside from one or two accidents at the very beginning, you are accident-free. It happened so fast, and so easily--I wish I could take credit, but you really trained yourself. You watched Lucia, understood exactly what to do, and just--did it. Done and done.

Your speech continues to improve dramatically, and the way you're learning to say things is completely adorable. You respond to any question with a prim, precise "Yes." You are slowly giving up calling Lucia "Sha" and moving to "Chia." You are becoming a tattletale: "Chia do it," you'll fake-cry sometimes, claiming some grievance. Last week, when I was coloring with you both, Lucia went upstairs to get something and instructed me not to color until she returned. I colored anyway, and as soon as Lucia sat down, Greta shouted, "Mama was coloring!!" So pleased, you are, to finally be able to express yourself. Sometimes, when I call you ridiculous endearments ("More milk, Love Love?") you say, "Not Love Love. Me Ge-ya." Indeed.

You are developing a showman's sensibility. You like to perform and make us laugh. Today at dinner you kept closing your eyes dramatically and then waving your arms around while mouthing words, as though you were singing--"What are you saying? What are you saying?" Lucia kept asking, but you wouldn't reveal it. "Me close eyes and do this," you said, repeating your little routine.

You are so sensitive. You take things to heart. You hate being yelled at. I startled you by shouting "Don't touch!!!" at the dinner table last week--you were about to grab a scalding-hot hot dog that had just come off the grill--and you gave me the saddest, most wounded look, with a quivering lip, and then broke into sobs when I ran over to hug you.

You love My Little Ponies. You love to read. You love puzzles. You are so easy to entertain. You will love preschool, I think. When Lucia was at camp a few weeks ago, you desperately wanted to go too; one day while Lucia was there, you kept coming up to me at home, holding random things from around the house, saying you made them at camp. Then you found a plastic plate, sat down on it, and said, "Me food." When I asked what kind, you said, "Me ham." Then you made a face which, I think, you intended to show you were ham. You are too funny, little miss Grets.

Favorite toys/activities: My Little Ponies, Anna and Elsa dolls, tiny stuffed animals, coloring, chalk

Favorite books: Twelve Dancing Princesses, Goofy and the Magic Fish, The Penguin Who Hated the Cold, Patterson Puppies books, 101 Dalmations, Color Kittens