Monday, December 24, 2007

12 Years

Doug and I got married on Christmas Day, 12 years ago. We were married by a Unitarian minister, Don Fielding, at my parents' house in Texas. Doug's brother Sam was there, my bud Triana and her mom were there, and my parents and sisters and grandmother were there. Then a couple of days later we drove a U-Haul with our cat Merlot to live and work in Tampa, Florida. Note: it is hard to get a hotel room on New Year's Eve. We slept in the U-Haul on our second night on the road. Good times.

Our wedding contained these verses from The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran:

You were born together, and together you shall be forevermore. You shall be together when the white wings of death scatter your days. Ay, you shall be together even in the silent memory of God. But let there be spaces in your togetherness and let the winds of the heavens dance between you. Love one another, but make not a bond of love. Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.

Fill each other's cup but drink not from one cup, give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf.

Sing and dance together and be joyous but let each one of you be alone. Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music.

Give your hearts, but not into each other's keeping, for only the hand of Life can contain your hearts, and stand together yet not too near together: for the pillars of the temple stand apart, and the oak and the cypress grow not in each other's shadow.

I love you, Douglas. Thank you for being my wonderful partner in life. I know we will be together forevermore.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Cynical at Five

Fiona's Kindergarten class recently had a section on America, including presidents. She brought home some of her work today, and I had to share it.

Really, what can I say? Let's just try to put aside how unsettling it is to find Dubya's face on your child's work for the moment, please. No, I can't. I found her statement so depressing, yet I laughed out loud (not in front of her, of course).

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Good Morning, Vietnam

A typical morning at the purple house.

Sophia. In front of a plate of eggs. "I don't want this!" Me: "Then don't eat them." Sophia eats the eggs and asks for more.

Fiona wants to bring her fairies to show (the whole small suitcase of them) at school. I remind her of the recently reinforced rule of no toys at school. Fiona: "But I haven't shown anything at show and tell in a while." There is no show and tell. Me: "Your teacher's rule is no toys at school". Fiona: "But I want to show my fairies." Me: "No toys at school." Fiona: "I'm just going to bring my fairies." Me. Chewing off my arm. Doug: "This conversation is over". (Aside: we have said she can invite her classmates over to show her fairies. She is bringing her teacher and the one across the hall their own fairies tomorrow.)

Sophia: "I want juice!" Me: "We have no juice." Sophia: "Juice! I want juice!" Me: "We have no juice." Sophia: "Please?" Me: "We have no juice." Sophia: "UUUURRGGGG!!!" Me: "I'm sorry. We will buy more later. How about water or milk?" Sophia: "Juice." Me, leaving the room. Sophia: "MILK! I WANT MILK!" Me: "Can you ask for it a different way?" Sophia: "May I have some milk, please?" Me: "Yes!" Gets milk. Sophia: "I want water."

It's 7:28 AM.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Purple House, The Musical, with Cookies

Fiona goes around singing everything these days. She tries to communicate in song. She needs some background music. I feel like I have mentioned this already. Well, if I have, it's still going on and it's happening more often. She also rummages through her closet so she can dress up as each fairy from those Daisy Meadows book series (she has the rainbow fairies and the weather fairies series and now she would like to start on the gem series...she has the first one and we check the others out from the library).

So we got buried by snow Sunday and Sunday night, but school was only delayed by a couple of hours today. For Fiona, who is only in a half-day Kindergarten, it meant no school! It is way too cold and windy, however, so we didn't prance in the snow. Maybe tomorrow. Today was cabin fever day. Very fun.

I finished the Christmas cookies for our family and now I must mail them out. Mailing them out is not the fun part.

Almond shortbread with raspberry jam.

Caramel popcorn with peanuts.

"Trio". These and the meringues are from the December 2007 Gourmet.

Cocoa and vanilla meringues.

Dark chocolate for toffee.

Taste testers. It is very serious work.

These aren't all of them, but some. The pecan crescents do not photograph well, and I'll just leave it at that. I just didn't photograph everything. I should because it is the only way I'll be able to remember what I make every year.

Making cookies with a 3 and a 5 year old is not easy. They just love the fussy cookies. I usually make the drop and bake kind because they are so easy. They were enthralled with the pastry bag, the cookie press, the different ways a cookie can look besides round. It was fun.

Here is the cookie press. It was my grandmother's. I hear they make them a lot easier to use now, but I am quite fond of using this once a year.

I love it enough that the spelling of cookie as "cooky" almost does not make my eye twitch.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Run, Run As Fast As You Can

So Fiona is home today because she said her tummy hurt. She looked a bit peakish, so after some temperature taking and going back and forth on the matter, I decided she could stay home. She is just fine, but I guess she needed a day off. Never mind she had the whole week off last week. The only thing is, they are working on their costumes at school today and Fiona has a fairly major part. She is the baker! (I'm so proud.) She has all her lines memorized, at least. The play is this Monday and so they have already missed a whole week of practice.

We had a good morning making gingerbread cookies and reading and doing puzzles. Now they are playing fairies and hopefully we will have some lunch that isn't gingerbread cookies and then work on some of Fiona's reading questions from school and some spelling.

Staying home from school today means also that I couldn't volunteer to be in her class to help with workshop, so Doug did! Everyone missed her (she hasn't missed a day yet) and was worried about her. Doug brought home a note from one of her friends and went back to work with some of the gingerbread cookies. He probably should have taken more cookies.

I need to make several different types of cookies for family and friends and it isn't really working out very well. I need to set them up with a movie or wait until they are asleep and get baking. They want to eat the cookies and I cannot deny them Christmas cookies. They love to help as well, and then we've got a situation where Sophia is eating as she goes and helping with the cookies. Yeah, those are definitely our cookies.

It's 11:48 AM and we are all still in our jammies. Okay, let's be honest here. The girls are now playing dress up, so I'm the only one still in my jammies.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Not My Wisest Purchase

A couple of Christmases ago, I bought Fiona a tin whistle for her stocking. I just found it again stowed in the depths of our bathroom cabinet. We have this deep, enormous bathroom cabinet, and below that, ample drawer space. The cabinet is actually far bigger than we need and so stuff can just get lost in there. I'm pretty sure there is a door to another world in there, but best to leave it alone.

Anyway, I took out the tin whistle, because it has been in there a long time. So it has been very loud and shrill here today because Fiona loves a toy she hasn't seen in a while and Sophia loves it for what it is. It got ugly there for a while, when Fiona came home from school, but now they are sharing it. Actually, it seems to have been temporarily forgotten. I just realized I have been forming complete sentences without trying to ignore pain.

Monday, December 10, 2007

The Holiday 2007 Photo Shoot

I really need a big black drape of some sort so I don't have to share the ancient yellowing wallpaper...the bottom of the door coated with smears...the who knows what I haven't noticed yet...

This was one of my favorites, mostly because I was able to get some natural light in instead of using flash. Not easy in the winter.

I got pictures like this last one by saying delightful things like "Buddy-butt poopy butt!" "Here comes Mommy Poopy Butt!" They call their bottoms "Buddybutts" (maybe it's "buttybutts"? "bummybutts"? or all of the above...) sometimes and they know I am not wild about it, but it sure does make them laugh! I think they had trouble breathing on the last one. Fiona was laughing nearly as hard as when I visited her Kindergarten class for the first time and her teacher asked me, in front of the class, whether I preferred to be called Mrs Brown or Rachael. The idea of calling me Mrs Brown (not my real name, by the way) was absolutely like opening up a can of the funniest possible thing imaginable to a 5 year old.

It was actually pretty fun to do, then Fiona accidentally....I think...busted Sophia's wooden doll house and it needs gluing back together. That just sort of screws up the whole day.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

How about a nice football?

Last night I took the girls to the tree lighting. Our little town has a little tree and a little choir from the middle school. The little shops on the little square have hot cider, cupcakes, and cookies. We've only been one or two times before, because we are lazy and because often the weather does not cooperate. This year, Doug was off to see the Golden Compass (his verdict: disappointing) so it was just me and the kids. We listened to the choir for about 2 minutes and then went to the end of the street to get in line for Santa. The one and only time we did this, the line was so long and in such a small space that we bolted from the scene. This year, we were going to get there early.

Santa and Mrs Claus ride around on the back of a fire engine around the square where the tree lighting and shops are. The kids sort of liked that, but it's hard to really see anything. Despite the tree lighting and Christmas lights--and the fire engine--it is still really dark at 6 PM. We actually run into people we know and wait near the head of the line for Santa.

When you see Santa, you get closed off in a room with just your family and the Claus family (and our small town newspaper reporter). Now, we had tried Santa at the mall and Fiona sat next to him and asked for a real fairy or a toy fairy or a mermaid toy. Sophia wanted nothing to do with him, but she would take the chocolate kiss at the end. This time, Fiona sat on his knee and asked for a real unicorn or a toy one. Then she got this package from Mrs Claus with an activity book, a writing tablet, crayons, and about 5 different kind of Christmas marshmallow chocolate treats. Sophia was apprehensive again, but not in a loud way. More like a big eye kind of way. She actually sat on his knee. She did not say a word, she did not suck her thumb, she just stared at everyone with a shy little smile. She, of course, got a package, too. She got her picture taken by the paper photographer (hopefully, she'll be in the paper...except that means I will have to buy a copy...).

Thursday, December 06, 2007

How can you read this? There's no pictures!

Well, we have the tree up and I have finally caved in and gotten white and pink dance clothes for the girls because Fiona really wanted PINK for her dance class like all the other girls (here we go). Truthfully, they were both outgrowing their black and dark blue dance clothes. I think I have to embrace the pink. There was no interest in the pink earlier, but that was then. They do look terribly cute. Fiona's clothes were too small and defective anyway, so she doesn't have a picture yet.

Fiona's latest topics of interest lately have been mermaids, princesses, and getting married. There is this boy in her class, let's call him K, whom she seemed fond of (She said he taught her how to kick sharks in the water; what more could you want in a man? She said if that didn't work she could lift them out of the water and throw them like Pippi Longstocking.) and wrote little love letters to. K would wait for her in the morning so they could walk back to the playground together before school started (K's older sister would wait, too, much to K's chagrin). She asked him if he wanted to get married when they were older and he said no. She asked if they could just live together and he was okay with that. Later he decided it was okay to get married.

This is old news, now, and that was about 2 weeks ago. Last week she told Doug that she was a princess and she had to marry a prince. So, Doug asked, "What about K?" She said she liked him a lot but she had to marry a prince. She pondered a bit and said, "Gosh, I hope he doesn't go all Gaston on me" (For those who do not know who Gaston is, you would need to see Disney's Beauty and the Beast).

I apologize for how slow it has been around here. It's not like I don't have a plethora of material to work with. Oh, and I'm not wild about this princess phase, so any suggestions of good books for how to be an alternative princess would be welcome. I'm not too worried, however. I eat lunch with her class on Thursdays and K wanted to sit next to me (most of them want to sit next to me, it's really flattering) so I did (Fiona on the other side--these are round tables). He whispered to me that he saves his milk so he can drink it after his nap and could I make Fiona save her milk so she can drink it after her nap? I couldn't help but laugh because A) Nap?! Fiona?! (I didn't mention her lack of nap to him) and B) I said, K, I can't make her do anything. He said, "She makes me do stuff all the time!" (Don't be alarmed; he went on to talk about their workshop time in the classroom. Fiona is not shy about handing out instructions.)

In other news, Monday was a snow day and the girls now adore sledding in the back yard (it's sort of difficult to veer away from the maple saplings we have everywhere, though). However, a pipe burst at Fiona's school so one snow day as turned into an entire week off.

Cutest moment of the week: One afternoon, Fiona read to Sophia on the couch. After about 4 books, Fiona came over to me in the kitchen and said Sophia fell asleep while she was reading to her:

This morphed into:

Friday, November 16, 2007

25 Most Baffling Toys

I had a really good laugh. Not work or child safe. Surprisingly.

The First Overnight

Forgive me. These are not the best pictures. My camera does not like taking close up pictures.

It is actually snowing today! It's not the 3 to 6 inches they predicted, but it's still snow.

Tomorrow night is a big deal around here. Doug and I are going to an inn about an hour away. For the night. Without the kids. The kids will sleep at home with Sobo (my mother). I am so excited! I'm also a little nervous. We will be staying here. Did I mention we're going without the kids? For the whole night? Plus breakfast? We have never done this before. In case that wasn't obvious.

Then it's back home to plan Thanksgiving dinner! My chef friend Annie sent me numerous new recipes, one of which is a Cosmopolitan-like cranberry sauce. Plus, mashed potatoes you can make ahead of time. Apparently, they don't get gluey or anything. I hope I can use a food mill, because I finally allowed myself to get a food mill.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


I got the bright idea last week to get the materials to make pipe cleaner fairies with Fiona. I've had this little yellow piece of paper with the instructions for, oh I don't know, about a year. We finally got a hot glue gun (to glue rocket pieces together), too, which was something we needed for the fairy project.

Now we have a box full of faux flowers, pipe cleaners, wooden beads (for the head), yarn, feathers, etc. Fiona could do this all day long. She carries them in her Easter basket from last year---you know, I just realized it's Sophia's Easter basket because Fiona's friend Hazel is borrowing HER Easter basket---and she brings them to school every single day. When her friends come over, they make fairies. I'm just waiting for some doom to come to the fairies at school.

When Fiona does something, she really immerses herself in it.

Halloween was great. Fiona actually did dress up as Ariel (she wanted to be a mermaid, then finally saw the Disney The Little Mermaid, and thus became Ariel...we bought a red wig even, since she asked for it. Which she did not wear). Sophia begged for a skeleton costume. Which she did not wear. She was a unicorn, like last year. She was a big hit. The candy is finally almost all gone.

My Daemon

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Sophia's Third Birthday

Sophia is three today! She is turning into this amazing little girl who loves her big sister, loves to figure out how things work, loves to "help", and is very, very snuggly.

She was 6 pounds and 13 oz when she was born. Her skin was dry and flaky and pale and she had perfect oval doll-like fingernails. She seemed to smile at me once she came out of the water--she had a water birth--and then proceeded to cry and cry until she settled in and became very pink.

Please pardon my appearance. I had been up since 1 AM and had Sophia at 6:22 AM. The real contractions didn't really start for a while, either. I called my friend Ame to meet us at the hospital at about 3:20 AM and I wasn't even sure that this was It. I woke up my Mom and Ellen Aim, who were also with us. I found out in about an hour that, yes, this was most definitely It. I was 5 cm dilated when I got to the hospital and I think that was about 3:45. Mom took care of Fiona, who was 2 3/4 at the time and she basically played in the play room and checked in and out. She managed to get there when Sophia was pushed out. She, of course, had a diaper that needed changing right before that point. She doesn't remember much about Sophia's birth except these things: the treat bag we packed for her and the noise I made. Oh, she remembers the little extra bed made up on the floor of our hospital room. Short and sweet is the way to go for labor, I have to say. It sure is intense, though. Thank goodness I could use Doug for squeezing and whatever else I did during labor. I don't really remember much except I was definitely not happy.

That memory is fading, unfortunately, but we have lots of pictures and video of that time and the most precious written account of it by Ame, who was there for the birth (and who just had a baby girl of her own on the 14th! Another amazing baby girl!), that always makes me cry.

Here she is with her older sister and we have been so amazed how great they are together. We really have a complete family.

The last one was taken last week. Happy birthday, sweet Sophia!

Monday, October 15, 2007

We Now Return to our Programming

The view from the "upper playground" at school.

Sorry about the, uh, small delay there. Over a month, but who's counting?

School has been going well for Fiona. She has been making friends and having fun. She was tested on her reading ability and she is reading at 3rd grade level. I dropped her off today at school--normally Doug does this, but he is in Boston--and she didn't want me to leave. She didn't even want to play on the playground. That is apparently not the norm, so I hope everything is okay. Maybe it's just Monday. Maybe it's because Sobo is here and we might have too much fun this morning. Then again, Sobo has been here since last Wednesday. Fiona's other bottom tooth is still there and I have no idea why. It is hanging by what must be the most tenacious root ever. She plays with it all the time. It makes me a little green to watch, so I try not to.

Sophia is doing well and turns three Thursday. I can't wait. I have cake to make. The oven is still not working, so unfortunately I may have to buy it. That would be easier, but not really as special (to me anyway). I think we need balloons. It will just be a family party. She does this thing now where if you catch her doing something she isn't supposed to do, or even if you just ask her not to do something, she will shush you (by looking at you, putting her finger to her lips and going "shhhhhh!"). And then continue doing her forbidden activity. As if you would just be quiet she could do whatever she wanted to.

We have been apple picking with Fiona's class at Liberty Orchard, which is such a cute place. The trees are short, so the kids can easily pick them. We now have lots of apples. Her class made applesauce (and I volunteer in her class with Sophia every Thursday, so I got to help!). The trees are really awesome this year. It was so warm for a while--I mean, seriously, warm. 80s Fahrenheit. It was great. It's not warm anymore. I think I need to buckle down and buy Fiona's coat and two pairs of snow boots. Ugh.

Both girls are now sleeping in their own beds...Sophia has a cool new bed that is just like Fiona's--from Flexa...and Doug and I have our own room once again! Actually, it isn't uncommon for Sophia to wake up at night and it also is not uncommon for them to join us in the morning. It's just nice to be able to have some time with one's spouse again. Alone. Speaking of my handsome spouse, he is also volunteering at Fiona's school. He was "Zero the Hero" in his cape and outfit. Every 10th, 20th, etc day of school they have a special zero treat (healthy..or healthy-ish I should say) and on the 20th day, Zero the Hero (Doug) paid a visit! It was so cute and I have pictures. Well, actually, I don't quite have them yet, but I will. Other parents can volunteer, so it won't be just him. Anyway, Fiona kept insisting he was her dad, and he kept saying Nope, I'm Zero the Hero. She was really confused and wary ("But you LOOK like my dad! You SMELL like my dad!") and wouldn't get in the pictures with him and the class at first. Finally he took her in the hall and said, yes, I'm your dad, but I have to keep my identity a secret. All was well.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Quiz Time

The Movie Of Your Life Is A Cult Classic

Quirky, offbeat, and even a little campy - your life appeals to a select few.
But if someone's obsessed with you, look out! Your fans are downright freaky.

Your best movie matches: Office Space, Showgirls, The Big Lebowski

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

This Made Me Laugh

So we get this rather thick Parent & Student Handbook during last night's orientation. This is perhaps a taste of what we are getting into. From the handbook:

The Visitor (that's us, dropping her off and picking her up) parking area is in the front of the building. We are aware that there is not enough space. However, visitors must use this space. Do not park, double park or block traffic in front of the building or in the staff parking lot at anytime.

The road leading up to the school has several signs instructing you not to park there at certain times...essentially when school is in session.

Guess how many spaces are in the front of the school?


One handicapped.

I don't know why it went so smoothly this morning, but it did. Maybe a lot of kids take the bus. I know some walk. We'd walk, but we are just a little too far away. I can't just drop her off, either. For kindergarten, you have to walk them up. I actually like that, but I wonder where I will be putting the car while I take Sophia to go get her sister. Doug gets to drop her off, which is a much busier time than lunch time.

On the First Day of Kindergarten...

She had a good day and got a sticker for being a good helper. Even though it is just a half day, they have the option to have lunch there. Of course she wants to eat lunch there. She brought her lunch and later I overheard her tell her dad on the phone that she was the only one who brought a "cold lunch" (as opposed to buying it; she had hot miso soup and onigiri and a fruit leather). We looked at the menu and she is even saying she will eat all her salad on salad day. Hmmm. Well, we'll see.

She learned a song about peanut butter and grape jelly and their first field trip will be picking apples!

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Time on Your Hands?

Or not?

Let me introduce you to Boomshine.

Dr Who Reads Aladdin

I am indebted to my sister Alex, for pointing out Ford Galaxy of Stories to me. This week, Tom Baker is reading Aladdin. He was the best Dr Who. You may disagree with me, but you would be wrong. Although the new series is pretty awesome.

Anywho, these stories are really well done and often have a twist to them. Fiona enjoys listening to them quite a bit. She also likes StoryNory, Odds Bodkin (especially the Little Proto trilogy), and Jim Weiss (She is into Greek Myths because of Jim Weiss).

I'm Not Scared!

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So while we were in Burlington, eating pungent things and drinking evil corporate autumnal goodness, we went to Borders. Sophia lit upon a book with an owl on the cover, and she said she wanted me to read the owl book. The owl book is I'm Not Scared by Jonathan Allen, and it is very cute. I read it twice and we bought the book. Sophia has repeatedly been saying "I'm scared" in various situations. I'm not even sure she exactly knows what it means. She is definitely imitating Fiona (who, in addition to potions and nightlights and dragon protectors, now has a net over her bed). She also imitates "My stomach hurts".

We read it at least six times tonight and, so far, it is fun to read, even over and over.

I may have to find a copy of I'm Not Cute!. These days, if you tell Sophia she is cute, or beautiful, she says, "I'm NOT cute! I'm NOT beautiful". Then she will say, "I'm just Ee-aa" (her nickname). Yesterday she said, "I'm just a girl".

If I kiss her, she says, "No kisses!" If I hug her, she says, "No! No hugs!"

Then later I am treated to how a bull would hug. She runs at me, headfirst, and crushes into me with her head, then wraps her arms around me.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Sweet and Pungent

Pungent, there's a fabulous word. Pungent as in Sweet and Pungent Walnuts, from A Single Pebble. That is one of my favorites, along with the Mock Eel. Yes, my friends, we went today, taking along the girls. It wasn't exactly a roaring success, but it didn't suck, either. Sophia didn't eat anything at all and Fiona only ate tea, rice, and pork...but! she tried everything! This is huge! So when we went by Starbucks (I know, I know, evil coffee empire) because my sister Alex so kindly informed me that they have the Pumpkin Spice Latte again (there is no Starbucks anywhere near where I live, so this is a special treat...otherwise I would find myself frittering away our disposable income, I'm sure), I bought them each a slice of pumpkin bread. Hey, it probably has pumpkin in it, right? What's better for you than pumpkin? Hell if I know.

Fiona's teacher and the other kindergarten teacher came for a home visit, and Fiona immediately showed them in and, without pause, took them to her room, and showed them her dragon books, her dinosaur bone puzzles, her calico critter house, and Sweety and Pippi. Everyone loves those parakeets. She didn't seem too interested in learning more about class or the school or anything else. Her teacher asked her a question as Fiona was rummaging in her jewelry box, and Fiona said, completely in her own world, "Look at this beautiful ring I found!". She took quite readily to her teachers and even gave her teacher a hug. At this point, there are only 12 kids in her class. Only 4 of them are boys.

Sophia started Kindermusic today, and we went as a family. The teacher was especially pleased to see Fiona as Fiona has been going since before she started walking and Fiona really likes this teacher. Sophia stayed glued to Doug unless she was dancing and twirling and running around. She seemed to enjoy the class. One of these Kindermusic songs is a little too catchy and it has been in my head for about 4 years. Fiona heard it again today and she remarked to me, as if she were slightly perplexed, that she couldn't seem to get it out of her head. I told her it was, unfortunately, normal.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007


Dining & Wine
Edible Films With Superpowers
Published: August 29, 2007

Scientists in a handful of labs around the country are coating foods with an invisible film to protect them from mold and pathogens and increase their shelf life.

Potions Master

So now that Fiona sleeps in her own bed, she doesn't really have someone to snuggle into if she has a nightmare. Well, she will still wake us (Doug) up, and we (he) will tuck her back into bed. One night, she had this nightmare where all these people were walking their dogs. She and I were walking, too, but without a dog (probably because we don't have one). We looked down and saw a dog leg. I said, "Oh, I didn't know bats ate dogs!". Everyone was very scared and ran away with their dogs.

I think I've got that right. Every time I think I understand, I don't and she shrieks at me in exasperation. Mommy is really. slow.

So, I think it was after that dream that Doug ran downstairs and got his bottled Gulf of Mexico. See, he had this sexy little bottle full of ocean water that he saved from a special trip; this is before we had met. So this is bottled Gulf o' Mexico aged over a decade. If you are like me, and certain that strange flesh-eating bacteria are probably thriving in the bottle by this time, let me assure you that all is well. He brings it to her and tells her it is a special potion that will keep away bats. It is clear that it isn't a potion you drink, you just have it. It worked. She carried it with her everywhere. We took it to Maine. She poured it out into the Atlantic Ocean and took a little Atlantic with her home.

Now the Atlantic has been colored red and glitter added (actually, I am not entirely sure it's still the ocean water). She decided on the way home that she wants to make potions and sell them in her potion shop. She is trying to figure out a way to do this without ocean water. She wants to make potions to keep away all types of scary creatures.

Our Trip to Maine

First of all, I am happy to say I found the veggie chips that I loved (look at the comments section, actually) so much in the box lunch you get at Gesine's. I found it at the Hanover co-op, but you can, of course, get them online. They aren't oily, they are very crispy, and they are very flavorful. I wonder if they dehydrate them a bit first, then fry them? I don't know how they do it.

Last week, we drove to Portland, Maine to stay for a couple of nights. We stayed at a Holiday Inn Express which was okay, but a bit overpriced. It was one of the cheapest chain hotels I could find in that area, though. Perhaps it is so high because it is a popular time of year to go to Maine. I can't say I recommend it. The bed is comfy and the people are very nice and helpful, but the pool! The pool was really dirty. We didn't let the girls go in and they had been looking forward to some swimming time. We did the pool right before leaving, so it wasn't really something we could ask them to fix. Maybe I would have if Sophia hadn't had an accident right in the middle of the comfy bed (which I told them about and Doug left a note on the spot saying "here").

We didn't really spend our time in Portland except to eat at some chain restaurants like On The Border (which I found satisfying...especially the margarita) and Uno (which we've never been in before, just like On The Border, and it was okay...Doug's turn for a margarita, which was very good, but was also $8.99!). We were staying across from a mall, of all things, and we wandered in there and I found the only bra from Victoria's Secret that fits me, from the Intimissimi line from Italy. I had thought they only had it at big, major stores, and only a few in the US. I guess Maine is one of them? Who knew? Vermont is definitely not one of those stores. I can actually get a fun little bra in size ONE. I tried a two, and I can see now I am definitely a ONE. But it fits. Plus they were on sale, so I had to buy two. Everything else in that store can reduce me to tears of frustration.

The next day we had planned to go to a blueberry festival/fair in Union. After seeing that it was at least another hour north, as was the botanical garden and train museum, we decided to go south along the coast and go beach hopping and tide pool exploring.
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We went to York Beach and Fort Foster. It was a fabulous choice. (Can you tell we put off researching this trip until the last minute?) We didn't even make it to York's Wild Kingdom Zoo, but maybe next time. Next time, I want to stay in that area instead of Portland. Portland is fine, but York was more of the sort of thing we were interested in for this trip.
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We also found the Kittery outlet stores, purely by chance, which we would have totally ignored except Doug declared he saw a Hanna Andersson outlet. I just love Hanna Andersson, so I turned the car around (a bit to Doug's chagrin) and we braved the crowds. I wanted to find Fiona a coat, but they didn't have anything like that. I did end up getting each girl a new dress and leggings. I'm glad we actually had a chance to try things on instead of going by measurements and ordering online, because I saw they are in the next size up already. They are both between sizes right now (Fiona is 110/120 and Sophia 90/100). We escaped as soon as that was done.

On the way back, we had to stop at Len Libby candies, both for the homemade candies and the chocolate moose (there are also chocolate bear cubs).

I recommend the blueberry malt balls (I have a thing for malt balls). We haven't tried everything yet. Trying to pace ourselves. Oh, both the maple caramel corn and the blueberry caramel corn are divine. There are lots of samples to help you choose.

We returned to the Children's Museum of Portland, which is a really awesome place for the kids. They had a great time, although Sophia mostly wanted to press the buttons for the video of sea creatures.

It's good to be back home, but I can't wait to go back. One of these times, I'm getting a damn lobster roll.