Sunday, July 30, 2006

Portsmouth, NH

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Hopefully I am not going to regret this, but for the next 5 days we have to leave the house at the cheerful hour of 8 AM so Fiona can do the summer camp at the Montshire Museum of Science. She loves this place (which is why I'm driving an hour and back each way) and what better close to summer than spending every morning there for an entire week? Now, you may be thinking, 8 AM, that's nothing! Hell, I used to leave for work at 3 AM. The challenge, you see, is getting everyone and everything in the car BY 8 AM... really more like 7:45 that first day just to make sure. I'm one of those people that is either just a little bit late or way too early. It sucks, but there it is.

So we went with Doug to Portsmouth, NH for another business presentation. Portsmouth has a lot more going for it than Latham, I have to say. We were also in a very nice hotel, the Hilton Garden Inn . I'm not really picky these days, I like to think. A/C, TV, bath/shower, clean floors and we can get by. Our room had a microwave (didn't use but I brought popcorn just in case and YES I know how to make REAL popcorn---bugger off!), a coffee maker (eh), and not only clean floors, but very clean floors. The beds were soft, white and filled with pillows. The staff was downright friendly. The kids loved the buffet at breakfast. There were minor flaws, but I would stay here again in a heartbeat, even if I had to pay for it (well, we did pay for the 2nd night). We didn't walk much that morning because Fiona just wanted to watch TV in the A/C. That was about as exciting as that time she and I were stuck in a motel room when we had the outside of the house scraped and painted (we have lead paint out there!) and she was about, what, 18 months?, and hadn't seen much TV at that point and wouldn't have except I was sick as a dog so I just left it on all morning and let it eat her brain. Teletubbies are four minions of Satan and Bush except I can actually follow what Teletubbies are saying if I haven't had more than 4 hours of sleep.

Right, where was I? Right--we stayed in the room also because Fiona had a "tummyache" (god DAMN those creatures, I almost wrote "tubbyache"). So even though I got the car down (unfortunately, there is only valet parking) for the baby carrier (no stroller) we walked for about 10 minutes and then we sat, glazed in our clean room. Doug came back for the afternoon and I can not even remember what we did except finally walk around. We also braved the pool which is hard with two young girls who do not know how to swim---and the 21 month old has No Fear of water At All.

The next day was better (except the car still didn't have a/c but it does now after we gave them a lung and $600) because we went to The Children's Museum of Portsmouth. Now, looking at it, it just looks like a nice old house. I'm telling you, it is very cool inside. The yellow submarine was the biggest hit (Fiona still loves Yellow Submarine and the Beatles; it's just that John is no longer the focus of her adoration). There were all these neat little details there that made you (the adult) want to play there all day. We also went to the beach to look at whatever sea life we could find and jump along the rocks (there was a "real" beach there but the water was so cold...however, people were swimming there--I'm going to guess these were native New Englanders who have family here going back several generations when the water was probably even colder in July).

Depsite the heat, we went to the outskirts of Boston to Stone Zoo, where we've been a few times before. Many animals were hiding or were missing except for the cool jaguar and her cubs. They were right next to the window. At this point, our girls were the most wild animals at the zoo.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

NY Trip

Sunday through Tuesday we went to Latham, NY, which is just outside of Albany. Doug had a presentation which went, of course, very well. I got to see him in his suit, which is always a real treat.

Those were the days of really high temperatures (high of 97) and it was bloody humid, so I can quote (with some glee) Ellen Aim and say that in our un-airconditioned car (it will take $600 to fix it because we have to replace the parts...which still seems freaking high to me) it was definitely "Armpit Level 5". I was hoping we could wait until next summer to fix it, but we really need to take care of it.

Anyway, Latham was pretty uneventful. The hotel had a nice trail where we saw tons of bunnies which Sophia loved to chase back into the high grass. They were very cute with the white fluffy tails. The pool was shallow (hooray!) and we had a couple of frog visitors. That was the highlight of the trip for Fiona.

Doug took the next day off and we went to a very cute botanical garden in Massachusetts called the Berkshire Botanical Garden. They had a children's garden amoung other fabulous gardens. We also went to the Berkshire Museum that had a dinosaur display and a bug exhibit which was really a gallery of bug artwork. It was really neat. It was also not airconiditoned so it was really hot. Sophia loved the museum and raced around the entire building. She is really talking now and saying things like: "Where is Daddy?" "Where is Fiona? (fe-nah-nah)" "That's Sweety!" "That's mine!" "Give me that!" "You!"

Fiona is at a birthday party today for her friend Juna and Doug took her there. I was going to take Sophia grocery shopping but she fell asleep in the playpen while I was taking a shower. That has never ever happened before, but I have wished that it would happen. Now I am waiting for her to wake up! She wakes up at 6 am which seems to early for her, but she doesn't usually go back to sleep. She ends up taking these really early naps instead. She's been asleep for a bit over an hour now. We may not go to the farmer's market today! Oh well, the blueberries aren't ready yet anyway.

Things I am Glad Not to Witness

So let's review the pet population up until a certain ghasty moment which I will relate. We had two frogs named "Cutie Cutie" and one parakeet named "Sweety Tweety". The bird is fine, by the way. Oh, and the aquarium of three (yes, three, now...I hope Doug took the latest casualty out of the freezer...) fish. The frogs we raised from tadpoles (we just bought them). One of them grew really fast and seemed very healthy (I guess). The other took forever to change into a frog and when he was finally a frog, was much smaller than the now Big Frog.

Big Frog and Little Frog seemed to live in harmony, eating and swimming, and...whatever frogs do. These are frogs that live in the water, by the way. One night before bed, however, Doug looked into the frog home and said "Rachael? Can you come here for a minute? How many frogs do you see?". Sure enough, there was only ONE frog in there. There is no way the other frog escaped (I looked to be sure). Big Frog's belly did seem quite...bulky? We told Fiona. She was sad and distraught. She was sure he had gotten under the bookcase (I looked again) but even if he had, he would still not be with us. She is ok with it now. I thought they were supposed to be friends, but I guess something was not quite right. We could get a free frog for a new friend (the people we bought them from say they LIKE to have company) but as Doug says, maybe we had better not. Now that the one and only Cutie Cutie has gone down this dark path, maybe he's developed a taste for his own kind.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Medium: Wet Dirt

The other night was such a lovely night. Doug watched the girls, king superhero Aragorn-like manly man who can wear tights that he is, and I took a bath with a Golden Slumbers ballistic, had a nice glass of port, and turned off the lights (it was still somewhat light outside) and listened to the rain. I'm ok with rain if it happens at night. And, really, it's the other way around. Aragorn wishes he were more Doug-like.

'Course it rained during the day, too, and that I didn't like so much. I mean the ground had just barely dried.

Doug has taken the car in so the a/c will be fixed. We're going to somewhere near Albany, NY for a couple of days, so that will be nice. Unfortunately, the car also has all of our sunblock and swimgear in it. Nothing like being stuck at home (we can't use the little Honda) with no sunblock! Argh!

Ok, I have a bottle I can scrap the lotion out of. This is why one can not have too much sunblock. I've blocked off the driveway and we're going to try to paint with mud. I'll bring the camera and we'll see how this goes. We don't normally play out front b/c of said driveway (it's sort of steep, but ok if you stay at the top, and it's hard to see from the street b/c it's behind a hill), so we'll see how blocking it off goes (people like to turn around in our driveway...we don't get a LOT of traffic but we get more than you would think for being on a dead-end street). It's being blocked off with the Honda, by the way.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Another Ice Cream Post

I'm eating Godiva's Milk Chocolate Hazelnut Praline ice cream. Sorry, Ben and Jerry. This is amazing. I almost never buy chocolate ice cream (I'm just weird that way) but this is REALLY good. Do what you have to do to get some.

I'm eating it before dinner---I used a friend's recipe for a quiche she entered in a contest. Please vote for it here! :) I didn't make it exactly like that (I always change something) but it's close enough and it smells divine (it's baking now).

Well, it wasn't ME!

So Fiona has a bit of a shiner. She and Sophia head-butted Sunday (Sophia is fine) and Monday she had a purple bruise under her eye (it hurt when it happened, but apparently it feels just fine now). Today it's purple and yellow and brown and it covers the area under her eye. I took her to the library yesterday and took her today to the grocery store. I think we are getting some looks (covert looks) but I could be paranoid. An older lady came up to them in the grocery store all smiling and cooing and then asked Fiona if her sister had given her a black eye. I laughed and said, well, in a way she did.

She didn't really look at me or talk to me. Maybe official people will be showing up on my doorstep this week.

Whine for a Rainy Day

So this Sunday, we're accompaning Doug on a work trip to Albany, NY. I'm searching for things to do with kids on a Monday morning. Even a playground would work really well.

I finally made an appointment to get the Subaru looked at because the A/C no longer works. I thought we could tough it out, but even in Vermont the car gets very hot. No one likes driving on the highway with the windows down (I'm also afraid of someone tossing something out of the car. Now I suspect I understand the Mystery of the Lone Shoe on the side of road...).

The weather has finally been co-operating and we've been enjoying warmth and sun. Today looks like a rainy day and I have no idea what to do with two small kids on a rainy day. One, yes. Two, no. Sophia is not really into arts and crafts--unless you include their culinary value. I can only play so much hide and seek. Maybe I'll just go outside in the rain with them. We could adventure to the Montshire Science Museum but I am feeling a bit under the weather. It's an hour away and with two explorers, requires hardy and intense supervision. I was wondering when it would rain again. The ground is actually dry (was) and we can't have that!

I would like to get out of the house, though, because I really think something has died in the basement. I loved the idea of a basement as a kid. I have to say I'm over it.