September 24, 2012

Pumpkin Picking, Sort Of

Try explaining the difference of Kohl’s vs. Cole’s to an almost-3-year-old and see how you make out. That was what Tony and I were attempting yesterday afternoon in the truck with Jill when she figured out we were going to the department store and not her friend’s house. Tears streaming down her face. I pretended to call Mel (Cole’s Mom), telling Jill that Cole was napping anyway and that we would visit later on. So Jill says something like, “Mumma, I can play with Cole’s quiet toys until he wakes up.” Is this kid destined to be a lawyer? I’m leaning toward this prediction.

“Cole lives in the town called Swansea. And I live in the town called Berkley.” I don’t know where she’s coming up with these things but I don’t think we’ve actually said that our new house is located in Berkley. I mentioned this funny comment to Tyla (my friend and Jill’s new day care provider) this morning and she said her kids are mildly obsessed with the names of town, classmates’ addresses, etc. So I think Jill’s interest in geography is branching from Cadence and Colton. How cool is that? (Jill would imitate me here and repeat, “How cool is that Mummy??”)

The other funny phrase she’s been saying lately is “maybe not.”

Me: “Jill, it’s time to brush your teeth.”

Jill: “maybe not”

I suppose it’s more polite than yelling NO. It cracks us up every time she says it.

The weekend was busy but still somehow relaxing. While Tony was busy with landlord duties Saturday morning, Jill and I met Mel and Cole at Back Acres Farm in Middleboro. Please don’t ever go there. We drove down an unmarked path to the parking area for the pumpkin patch. There were so many mosquitos we couldn’t even open the car doors. We talked on our cell phones and quickly left. Even Jill noticed how shady the place was. “How are we gonna get out of here, Mummy??” Ummm, yeah, we’re leaving now. We ended up at Arrugo Farm in Dighton hopeful for a hayride but happy with a self-guided pumpkin patch tour via wagon. The patches were sad: unripe or overripe pumpkins stink and aren’t the prettiest backdrops for fall pictures of the kids. But we made the best of it and grabbed a calendar of events on our way out. Horse-drawn rides start in a few weeks. And lunch at Curley’s was delicious.

Unpacking and organizing continued throughout the weekend. We also did our first full grocery run and attempted some meal planning. Dinner and playtime at Mel and Brian’s house Sunday evening followed by my co-ed indoor soccer game at 8:40. Let me just say that I’m way too old to be playing soccer that late. We’ll leave it at that. I won’t mention the collisions and possible minor concussion. We can just say it was a physical game. I’m now considering a longer dress for Ethan and Mary Ellen’s wedding on Saturday so that I can cover up my bruises. Lovely.

my vain child likes to look at herself in the mirror, or fireplace glass, whatever
chilling with Mom at the kitchen counter
the kitchen might be the same size as the entire first floor of the old house!
 new hood
 the look!
excited to have big girl undies on
this didn't last very long...sadly

showing off her pumpkin
God, I love that goofy smile!!
 Monday night pasta with Dadda
 picnic in the living room
 She also likes to look at herself in the dining room window.
 on a pumpkin-related mission at Araujo's in Dighton
 No hayride? That's ok. We'll grab the wagon and head there ourselves!
 Jill and her buddy, Cole
 what a sad looking pumpkin patch
This one's not too shabby!

September 21, 2012

Berkley Wildlife

Welcome to our home in the country. It’s not the ‘burbs; no, we’re more country than that. Berkley isn’t exactly rural America – it’s 6 minutes from Rt. 24 – but it is, as we’ve found out in our first week, a wildlife sanctuary. The welcoming party has included a massive woodchuck, a possum, a mating vixon (female fox) and 15 turkeys. Other everyday sightings include deer, horses walking down the main road, and two donkeys across the street from the cafĂ©, an already-favorite spot of Jill’s for its chocolate ice cream with the appropriate label of Turkey Hill.
click here or above to hear the sound of a mating vixon
video from YouTube

Thanksgiving dinner?

This week we “immersed ourselves in local culture,” as Tony says, buy buying IPA and Golden Ale beer from Berkley Beer Company. Tony is more of an IPA man so he liked the darker beer while we both enjoyed the Golden Ale. Definitely planning to attend the next tasting event!

So one week down and things are going really well. One week down and many, many more memories to come!

September 17, 2012

Now Residing in Berkley

We closed on our new home on Friday. It’s our third house but in a way feels like our first. The first, of course, was a condo in Burlington, VT. Prior to that, Tony was in the Air Force and we rented an apartment in Alamogordo, NM (a two-bedroom with a separate backyard for $375/mth!). After our 1.5 years or so in Vermont, we headed for Boston, a city somewhat foreign to me except in dinnertime mentions about my Dad’s construction sites. Now I know why he left at that insanely early hour. Boston was somewhat sexy – ok not if you compare it to NYC – and a place I always wanted to live. And so began our stint of rentals throughout the city: the garden-level (basement) apartment on Comm Ave. in Brighton; the 450-square-foot brick-lined place in the North End surrounded by drunk, spoiled college kids; the townhouse-style apartment in Southie that shared a deck with the neighbor – and landlord – and his family, including “Keeper,” the Australian black shepherd that liked to make himself at home in our apartment and once shit on the upstairs rug. Once we had our fill of city living and decided we were ready for a driveway – or even a *gasp* garage – we bought a cute home by the water in Hough’s Neck, Quincy. Real estate agents would use the word “cozy,” which means incredibly small. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, Hough’s Neck was the Cape Cod of Eastern Mass and our home was the neighborhood country store. The surrounding homes served as cottages for the wealthy. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed our 4 years in “The Neck,” but we had outgrown our home, not to mention our yard, driveway and neighborhood. We needed more space, more yard and most importantly, family and friends nearby to help with Jill.

We found all of this in a beautiful home in Berkley, next door to my hometown of Dighton. The house makes me feel like a princess: so lucky to be able to share this with Tony and Jill, and so excited to have enough space for family and friends to visit. This weekend alone we may have had more visitors than the first year in Quincy. Mel, Brian and Cole came over Friday night for pizza and beer. Jill was so excited to play with Cole and show off her new house and playground. On Saturday, Ethan and Heidi came over to help move and Mel to watch Jill while I unpacked. In no time, Tony, Ethan and Heidi had left to return the moving truck. Mel and I were desperate for Cole and Jill to nap so we drove down the road to the Berkley Arts & Crafts Fair to tire them out. Jill danced to the live music but had no interest in the booths at the fair. She thought the best part was the playground and the fire station across the street. Cole crashed in the car on the way back to the house. Jill did not. She was too wired to nap, go to sleep at a reasonable hour or sleep much past sunrise. Heidi, Mel and I unpacked the kitchen while Cole napped and Jill continued to run around the house and slide down the “big geen slide” in the backyard. Ethan and Heidi stayed well into the evening. We built a fire to relax in the backyard. Heidi commented on the darkness of the sky and the clarity (did I just write and backspace over clearness??) of the stars. Yes, we are in the country. Falling asleep to the sound of crickets with no sign of cars speeding down the street or street lights shining into our bedroom window. I feel like I’m finally home.

During the last few days at Granna's, we turned around to find that Jill had made her own jungle gym!
waving hello to Granna
She requested a picture a day while she's away visiting family in California.
 Friday afternoon - SOLD!
 Jill could not wait to get on her new playground!
 such a goofball sometimes
 helping Dad pack the moving truck on Saturday morning
 the new digs
 *WELCOME to our new home*
Jill and Cole took a break from unpacking to check out the Arts & Crafts Fair.  They had no interest in the fair, just the playground.
 Saturday night we celebrated with Heidi and Ethan
Tony is smiling here but in other pictures he looks scared.  Jill comes very close to his leg!
 hanging on the boat Sunday
 assaulting Auntie Jess Sunday afternoon
 hmmm what's in this box??
 cruising in the Scout
Monday night's special visitor - Grammy Furze

September 11, 2012

Back in the Game

I didn’t go so far as to buy new indoor soccer shoes but I did make three store stops before finding soccer socks. My shin guards Sunday night were from the kids’ section at Target. Can you imagine if my shin guards from high school were still around? My former has-been high school soccer heroes: Do you remember how AWFUL our shin guards used to smell? It was like wearing a badge of honor, a medal of pride for how stinky your pads could get until your Mom couldn’t stand it anymore and into the wash they went.

Mandy, an old friend of mine, recently asked me to play co-ed indoor soccer Sunday nights in Somerset. I hesitated. Could I still hang? Would I pass out from the shitty indoor bubble air? Mess up my knee yet again or crack a tooth after colliding with a fellow has-been? But then excitement took over. I haven’t played indoor since Tony and I lived in the North End SIX YEARS ago. And before that was an even longer hiatus, maybe intramural indoor at Westfield State. Either way, it had been awhile. I’m not sure exactly what convinced me to go for it, but I’m so glad I did.

Late afternoon on Sunday my nerves started to kick in. “I’m going to die,” I said to my Mom and 2.5-year-old daughter. “Noooooo, Mummy, I don’t want you to die.” Oh ok, maybe not die. “Mommy’s just going to be really tired tonight, sweetie,” I explained.

I arrived at the bubble and was greeted by Jess (my sister-in-law), Liz (Jess’s friend) and Amanda (aka Whitey). We were all nervous. We were scared. Convinced we were about to make asses out of ourselves. And guess what? We didn’t. We actually all played pretty darn well! Yes, we were certainly tired and subbed frequently, but the touch for the ball was still there. It was a little bit like riding a bike. Passing and shooting, it seemed like we had never left the field. It reminded me of my Dad and how proud he was to be our coach growing up. That night I somehow fell asleep with sore muscles, a level of excitement only soccer can bring, and a heavy heart that my Dad wasn’t around to watch me play. He visited me in my dreams that night. So even though Jill didn’t go to bed until almost 11 p.m. and we had barely slept before the alarm sounded at 4:15, I woke up feeling refreshed and loved. There, that’s my cheesy recap of how I feel coming back to the soccer field. I’ll see you next Sunday!

September 8, 2012

Girls' Weekend

It's girls' weekend!  Tony is in Newport for Ethan's bachelor party and Jill and I kept busy today with a trip to Marion to visit Sarah.  We stopped by her sister's house and played on the playground with her two daughters, Olivia and Ruby.  And then we hit the beach.  It was beautiful.  Jill ran right into the water and never wanted to come out.  She dunked her entire body under the water twice and wasn't scared in the least bit. 

Saturday afternoon we broke out the bike.  She can almost pedal without a problem reaching.  Almost. 

Friday Night Back Home

After picking Jill up from Tyla's Friday afternoon, we stopped by the boatyard to see Tony.  He was leaving for Ethan's bachelor party for the weekend.  We headed back to Berkley and over the "choo choo train bridge" as Jill calls it and stopped at Carah's parents' house along the water.  Jill played with Patrick and Thomas (Carah's boys) and Cadence (Ca-Ca) and Colton (Colty), Tyla's kids.  They ran each other into the ground for an hour.  Literally.  Racing through the yard, playing hide n seek (that didn't go very well) and pushing each other in the swing. 

From Point Street we went to Scott and Jess's house.  They looked very nice as they were leaving to go out to dinner.  Jill played with Guy and Granna for a few hours while I met some high school friends at Curley's Pub.  It was a good night!

Family Painting Party

 scrape and paint, repeat.
Labor Day Weekend in Vermont
 our boss
playing with Auntie Kathleen and Andrea's American Girl dolls is much more fun than painting!

 I love this pic!
Jill successfully destroyed the living room and covered it with toys Saturday, Sunday and Monday.
 She also helped paint (with water) on Monday, while holding her baby.
Kathleen was a painting machine.  She even wore not-the-cutest sunglasses just in case the paint dripped!
 Uncle Chris
 Jill the helper
a leaf for my Nana

We drove to Burlington, VT Friday afternoon.  Jill was asleep at Tyla's house when we picked her and she continued her nap for a chunk of the ride.  Rachael (our dog) was SO excited to see us when we arrived at Nana's house.  Besides painting, we were able to relax and have some fun too.  Tony went sailing with Popa on Lake Champlain.  Jill and I visited my college roommate, Kelley, at the North Beach campground.  Silly me didn't bring a bathing suit for Jill and she ran right into the water, fully clothed.  I wish I had a camera with me!  Lake Champlain was so beautiful that afternoon, filled with boats and lined with the mountains as a backdrop.  Andrea and I spent some serious time at the Essex Outlets and picked Kathleen up on the way home for pedicures.  Monday morning on my jog along the bike path I had a close encounter with a deer.  She was about 15 yards away and didn't see me at first.  It was such an experience, and another time I wish I had a camera or iPhone handy!