RSS Feed

Category Archives: Outings

Breaks, Birthdays, Etc.

Posted on

It’s been two month since my last post, but I’m only focusing on a 2 week period here-spring break! My birthday! But I will give a quick follow up, to that last post about Sweetie. She’s been back for 2 months, put some weight on (but us not overweight like before) and all is usual. Except…Liesl went through a period of hissing and scratching at her. Also, where Sweetie was a food hog before, causing Liesl to leave whenever she went near the food dishes, Liesl stands her ground now while Sweetie sits and watches.  All that nasty behavior seemed to have tapered off and I was delighted to see them both on my bed the other day (though nowhere near each other.) But when Sweetie came closer to her and I was petting them both, Liesl hit her on the head and then left. So I guess she’s got some unresolved issues still.
Running atop the jetty
We had a terrific and relaxing spring break a couple weeks ago. Boy, I could not wait for it. We didn’t plan a big trip or anything like that, but it was as least as long as our Christmas break, and more relaxing because there was not much to do. I feel refueled and ready to make it through the rest of the school year. Paul took the week off as well. On one lovely day we went to Bethlehem and enjoyed no festivals or events-just a relaxing brunch, hanging out in the bookstore, getting an ice cream on the Lehigh campus, and a stroll along Steel Stacks.Steel Stacks

On another gorgeous day we headed to the beach.Low tideThere were lots of people there! It was a very warm 80 degrees that day-except at the beach it was pretty chilly and everyone had to wrap up. Little Mermaid
On the jettyOther days the kids played with friends, we puttered in the yards, ran leisurely errands together, and so on.  The end of the week was a much anticipated concert-The Decemberists at the Fillmore. I have been looking forward to this concert since it was announced and was really excited. I love the band and we saw them 2 years ago at the Academy of Music. A great show, but that venue, while gorgeous and acoustically terrific, is hard to let loose in. The show was packed and there were, apparently, giants standing in our way, but it was still great. I was super excited that they played two songs I did not expect to hear (one of them I never thought they’d play but really wished it would be a concert song and I couldn’t believe it when it started.) It was awesome. A less awesome thing happened driving home on 95. A car came up behind us and on the left and sideswiped us. At 65 mph and then drove off. It was pretty scary and the entire side of the car is dented, scratched, and covered with their dumbass tire marks. And the mirror was torn off. I’m very grateful we weren’t hurt and the car still runs, but I’m pissed off that some asshole did that and we are the ones paying for repairs and left with a shitty looking car. (ten  scowly face emojis here.)
The vacation ended with a lovely Easter at my aunt Margaret’s. The kids took the canoe and rowboat out on their pond and I went for a row, too. It was so nice. RowingFor dessert I made a coconut cake that was really good. A very light and silky batter baked in a 9×13 pan, then soaked in a syrup overnight, then topped with whipped cream. Then it’s sprinkled with coconut on top and I decided to make mine in big flower shapes.Coconut CakeAnother thing we seemingly spent the entire vacation doing was reorganizing the basement and cleaning up our room by switching winter and spring clothes. One tiny and immensely satisfying part of that was sorting and storing in a new way all my cookie cutters. So I used a giant copper flower cutter to provide my coconut outline (which I was able to quickly and easily retrieve!)
For our own breakfast I baked a coffeecake that was a braided apricot nut bread. It came out great!The Easter Braid
And then it was back to school, but the very next day was…my birthday! One of my most favorite days of the year! I had a great day starting with some marvelous cards and to-be-opened right then gifts. Paul got me the cutest, well, we can’t figure out what they are officially called. I had requested them. Those old-fashioned things you pin on a cardigan with a little chain in between? Cardigan clips? Sweater pins? Whatever, he got some adorable ones and I loved wearing one that very day. In the evening we had a great dinner. I had specifically requested (demanded) that this year my kids get on board with making me a homemade cake. I didn’t care if it was sloppy or came out poorly, I wanted something lovingly made just for me by them. This seemed to cause of lot of fretfulness and to my surprise they each made a cake. And each was wonderful.Happy Birthday to meMy mom joined us and it was  wonderful birthday.

Now, two other things. The first is very terrible–two nights ago we had the dreaded tragedy of a fox in the chicken coop. A bad combination of opening the gate and letting everyone out for the afternoon and then not locking them up. Usually if we forget to lock them up it’s actually not a big deal because the gate is always securely closed. But this time the gate was open. Out of our 17 birds, it took 8. Worst of all-only 2 were roosters. And the ones it took were our favorites-the two little emus, Baddie, and Tree Bird. Baddie and Tree Bird were the matched Mille Fleur pair we received as day old chicks 5 years ago (five years! They had nice long lives.) Baddie was a real jerk, for sure, but we had a soft spot for him. In his older age and diminished position in the pecking order, he rarely was feisty any more (though he had attacked me just a few days ago.) But Tree Bird. Oh, we adored her. She is the hen who was Gordon’s special friend. Here they were the week before: A mixed up coop He’s going to be very sad that she’s gone. She was super sweet and we’ll miss her. Tree BIrd's last photoshootSo now we are down to 9: 6 hens, 3 roosters. We could get chicks, but I think instead we should just see if anyone goes broody and let them.

In better news all the flowering bulbs and trees are looking great, the lilacs smell wonderful, the maple tree leaves have just come in, looking all yellow green, and it’s a pretty beautiful time of year.Double Ruffle

A Look Back at 2016

Posted on

It’s time for my favorite post of the year! A look back at the past year. I really enjoyed reading the 2015 look back just now (that stuff was so long ago!)
2015 began with a bang for us-I got a job and returned to work. I can’t believe we’re coming up on a year anniversary of my first day! Obviously it’s been an adjustment in many ways for all of us (including the dog), but overall I’m so happy to be back in the field and very happy where I am. Not surprisingly, many of my hobbies took a hit from this, especially photography and sewing. I thought I’d make it up in the summer, but I didn’t.

In the spring Clark graduated from Cub Scouts and achieved the Arrow of Light. This was a big deal ceremony and we were very proud of him and happy for him. After so many years with the Cub Scout families and events it was a change for all of us to say goodbye to all of it.img_5945 Clark joined a new Boy Scout troop and has liked it very much. It began with going away to camp when summer began and continued in the fall with a few camping trips, some of which Paul went on. The best was a trip to Harpers Ferry W VA. A cool thing their troop does is have their own patch for the Appalachian Trail. You get a pin for each state you hike 6 miles of the trail in and spend a night in. In December both Paul and Clark received the patch with their first three pins on it. So far he has achieved Tenderfoot rank, which I wrote about here because of the embroidery aspect of it.
Meanwhile, Tabby and I continue along in Brownies. I’m happy that I was able to continue on being her leader, as I really enjoy our group of girls. Our troop attended our first “Camporee” and had a great time. It was not so much camping as all of us (including parents) attending an outdoor resort. We stayed in cabins and got to canoe and zipline and swim and it was all a lot of fun (even if Tabby & I were huge babies on the ropes course and got terrified.)2016-06-04-10-59-09
While Clark was at camp this summer Tabby and I took a trip to visit my dear childhood friend, Joanna, and her daughters. We enjoyed our road trip very much and spending time with our friends. We capped it off with an extra special surprise visit to the National Zoo. Tabby adores pandas and to see them in person was very exciting for her (and me!) It was super fun and special.

 

2016-07-01-14-43-41

2016-07-01-14-09-12

After that it was pretty much just summer as usual, until we took our family vacation to Boston. Although I barely posted anything this year, I did write a pretty big post about that trip here.  It was a super vacation including whale watching, art, history, and the big event-Pearl Jam at Fenway Park. mosaicboston
Speaking of concerts, it was a big year of concert going for me and Paul. I wrote about all the summer/ fall concerts here. All told, I went to see the Indigo Girls, Guster, Sigur Ros, Pearl Jam (twice!), Weird Al, Kishi Bashi, Band of Horses, The Monkees, Squeeze, The Legend of Zelda (symphony), Pokemon Symphonic, Ben Folds, Ben Folds with yMusic, XPN Fest (Darlingside, David Wax Museum, The Districts), Barenaked Ladies (with Howard Jones and OMD),  Flight of the Conchords, Crash Test Dummies, and Richard Thompson. It was a good variety of music and venues and a great part of the year.2016-09-24-22-37-56

We had one other trip this year, and that was a short getaway to Watkins Glen, NY. We’re not race car fans-the allure for us is the amazing gorge there. We’d been there once before, just to hike the gorge (in the rain!), but this time we stayed in a cabin for a couple nights. It was a lovely relaxing trip that included not just hiking the gorge, but also a trip to the Corning Museum of Glass, which was awesome.mosaicwatkins

Our menagerie remains large, but this year we sadly said farewell to Nibbles. He had been losing his sturdy plumpness and got rather thin and then one day it happened. We all loved Nibbles and were sad to say goodbye to him. Nibbles

We also said farewell to my mom’s dog, Sophie. At 16 1/2 years old she had a wonderful long life, but her departure left a hole. Perhaps she’s playing somewhere with her dear old friend, Pippin. In the coop there many additions as well as deaths. Our big President Rooster died, I chased a fox across our front yard who had a chicken in his mouth-she escaped but he came back for her and her dumb friends on the following two days. There were 13 chicks hatched over the summer and it was just baby baby baby peep peep peep everywhere.2016-08-09-13-17-32
Peeping out from Mother Hen
Some babies were nurtured more than others and of the un-nurtured group, who never were taught to go in the house at night, 6 of the 7 eventually got killed. Idiots. Our rooster Baddie was dethroned as the king of the coop by a up and comer young new rooster. Gordon continues to live in harmony with his chicken friends.
Willow continued to grow and mature and although she still eats food off the counters she is a marvelous dog. Although I think we both miss the big daily walks, she is actually very happy to instead have shorter walks in the meadow where I let her run off leash.2017-01-01-15-46-40

There were, of course, other fun days here and there-a Princeton football game, a Princeton hockey game, Tabby performing as Augusta Gloop with her 4H club at the fair, visiting the aquarium in the midst of XPNFest, holidays, birthdays, and fun for me-special days at school. One especially fun new thing this year was embarking on a long term tabletop game with our friends, Liz and Eleanor. We began Pandemic Legacy, which is a very intense game in which we are working to save the world from horrible pandemics. As you play the game you affect the board, actions, and characters (you can kill some) for the duration of the year long game. We are about halfway through and all I have to say is, good thing we’re not the real CDC.

Now, although I did say I haven’t been keeping up with photography, and there’s been a sad reliance on my phone this year and lack of Flickr participation, I did set one photography project for myself that I really enjoyed. Matching the Crayola colors from the 64 box to real life flowers in my garden.

mosaic64colors

I didn’t even keep up with my “Favorites of 2016” folder! Here’s a link to it.

All in all, it was a pretty good year. Now, the elephant in the room. I can’t talk about a year end reflection without acknowledging that since November 9 we’ve all been down in the dumps (well, the adults in the house) and had our beliefs about mankind and the world gravely shaken. I have tremendous worries and concern about the next 4 years, but I will strive to do one small part by teaching my children to show respect and kindness to people and stand up to bullies.  Although it may not feel like it, I know there are still good people in the world and good moments. Would you believe we met another Pearl Jam fan in Boston and kept in touch? I mean, how lovely is that?  And I get to be a librarian again and immerse myself in educating and sharing books with students. And I get to see my children growing up and being smart. And even though I didn’t enjoy my hobbies as much this year, I do have them! And I met my reading challenge this year (read that big recap of my top books of the year right here.) And I have a super husband who is my concert partner and biggest fan. So, that was 2016. Let’s see what happens in 2017!

Spring Break

Posted on

We’re just finishing up a whole glorious week off for all four of us. Although I like my new job, I really really enjoyed having a week off. Paul took the week off as well, and although we didn’t travel (like we did to Denver last year) we made the most of it, combining outings and at home fun, and are now both thoroughly relaxed, and also tired out.

The vacation began with Easter weekend, which unfortunately included me doing a major assignment for the class I’m taking. But it was still a lovely weekend and we had a very nice Easter, spent with my mom. I made two things for the dinner-hassselback potatoes (I feel like that’s trendy because I see that word all over the place), which were Yukon Gold potatoes sliced mostly through, roasted with olive oil and salt and pepper, and then tossed with butter and fresh chives. They were delicious. Roasted Potatoes//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js From my great Joy the Baker cookbook I made whole wheat biscuits with goat cheese and honey. They were a drop biscuit baked in a cast iron skillet in the oven and they came out great. Next time I would add the goat cheese later than she suggested because I would have preferred chunks of it, rather than how incorporated it was. These were a nice addition to the table. Drop Biscuits//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

And of course, our morning began with a glorious egg hunt. The E.B. was more ambitious this year and hid many more eggs outside, all over the yard. Happy Easter//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

The holiday weekend done and the assignment submitted, it was time to get down to fun. Although we just puttered around at home on Monday, we did end up going out to lunch to a new-to-us pizza place, that was a wonderful discovery. Paul, Tabby, and I took Willow on a great walk and found four new geocaches, something we haven’t done in a long time, so that was awesome. Tuesday we went to the Turtleback Zoo, which is charming.chillin//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.jsIt has really changed a lot since I was a kid, but it’s still small and very accessible and we had a nice time. Paul was delighted by the sting ray touching because they were (seemingly) downright affectionate to him and were repeatedly rubbing against him. The stingrays were exceptionally friendly. Like water cats//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.jsAfter that we went to a family favorite destination (since we were pretty close)–Ikea. Yes, that’s right. We went to a store for our vacation. And spent as much, if not more, time there than the zoo. It might be weird, but eating Swedish meatballs in the lovely dining area with my family is definitely a “happy place” moment. (We were in the Paramus one, so no watching airplanes take off, also at 2 o’clock on a weekday it was marvelously deserted and calm.) We had a grand time getting an inspiration for our tiny bathroom and getting many other things. And best of all, the next morning we assembled/put everything away. So prompt!

Wednesday afternoon we headed down to the beach, despite it being fairly chilly and windy. I like a good walk on the out-of-season beach and thought it was great to be there.(I feel compelled to point out that the wind is making my jacket blow up, plus I had on a down vest under my jacket. )//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js(Please note that I look enormous due to not only the wind, but also wearing a down vest under my jacket.) Tabby also enjoyed it, Tabby @ the Beach//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.jsthough Clark was so cold he just stayed in the car. His loss! We did persuade him to come out for a brief photo. obligatory family portait//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.jsI love sitting in the sand and just looking out at the ocean. And even though it was cold we got ice cream from our favorite place, Nagle’s. And then followed that all up with a spontaneous visit with our cousins.

Thursday was the biggest outing-we drove into the city to go to the American Museum of )Natural History. The kids had been wanting to go and I was really eager to see the brand new Titanosaur exhibit. It was indeed enormous (122 feet long) and of course the rest of the museum is wonderful too.Good old AMNH//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.jsI love the dioramas so much. We love the movie, Night at the Museum, and were tickled to see that the big Easter Island head statue is now enjoying some movie related fame. There was a whole crowd waiting to take pictures with him, and everyone exclaiming “dum Dum!” Us included. You have gum gum, Dum Dum?//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.jsClark asked if the museum is famous in other parts of the country and I always assumed it was, but maybe not? Does everyone know about the gigantic blue whale? The dioramas? This museum is definitely a treasure and I’m happy that I can take my kids there as my parents took me. Good old AMNH//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Friday we wrapped things up with a nice lunch out at the Cuban restaurant that Paul and I went to on our very first date, nearly 14 years ago.  And scattered throughout the whole week there was eating out, Tim Horton’s, movies at home, playing with friends, and even a little sewing for me (which, boy, did I realize I’ve been missing.)

And now the house is a bit messy and we are nowhere near in a state of mental preparation for return to work/school tomorrow! And meanwhile, spring is looking gorgeous-everything is flowering and bright. We haven’t planted peas yet and we are thinking of deconstructing our raised beds. There just wasn’t time to do everything this week!
Oh that bright pink!//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

A FESTive Year

Posted on

If 2015 was the year Paul and I went to a lot of concerts together, it was also the year we “discovered” Bethlehem PA and went to several of their “fest”s. It all started when Paul planned a surprise fun outing there for my birthday back in April. We went to Billy’s Diner where we laughed at the slim claim to fame of being owned by the cousin of Criss Angel, but then ate our words when we discovered how insanely delicious the food was. We were charmed by a little museum with a steampunk exhibit, and the town in general. 2015-04-18 12.30.54Shortly thereafter we returned for Mother’s Day and brunch at the British pub and a stroll around the art street fair.  2015-05-10 15.07.45Summer is the huge Musikfest, and Paul also went to see two concerts on his own at the amazing Steel Stacks.2015-08-15 17.53.03 In the autumn it was Oktoberfest where we enjoyed wiener dog races and German food.Blowing the Alpine horn
And just a couple weeks ago we had breakfast with Santa, shopped the Christkindlmarkt, and enjoyed how merry “Christmas City” was. And got a very festive and wonderful Christmas photo.Merry Christmas from Steel Stacks!And to wrap up the year, today we went to Peepfest.  Peeps, the marshmallow chicks, are made there. For New Year’s Eve they drop a 4ft high peep, which we watched being raised today. Apparently I am the only person who actually thought it was going to be a real gigantic peep. Nope, it was plastic.2015-12-30 11.07.48 The fest was entirely inside the ArtsQuest building and there were kids activities and a we enjoyed checking out the peeps diorama contest. 2015-12-30 13.45.41 This fest was probably better for families with very little kids. It didn’t have a lot to offer Clark, but we still enjoyed being there, eating peeps, and we also returned to Billy’s for a delicious brunch. Little Peeps s’mores were also available for the making and everyone looked like hoboes. 2015-12-30 14.23.22 Bethlehem is a lovely quaint town and at one hour away it’s not too far to go for some reasonably priced (or free!) entertainment.

20151230_142653

Christmas City

Posted on

This year we have enjoyed visiting Bethlehem, PA a number of times-Oktoberfest, Musikfest, Mother’s Day, and today we went for the big one-Christkindlmarkt. As you can imagine Bethlehem takes full advantage of its name and Christmas City is a delight to visit in December.  The Christkindlmarkt is held at Steel Stacks in giant tents and has rows and rows of stalls of vendors.  For the most part they are artists selling their beautiful unique wares. We had tickets for Breakfast with Santa and it was great (and oh how I wish we’d started doing this years ago.) It was nice to be in the tents before it all opened and arrive when things were quiet. We had breakfast and then met Santa and had our picture taken. I loved how this Santa was styled as a Victorian one!
IMG_5223

When we unpacked our ornaments this year we were surprised to find that we’d only bought 2 new ones all year-one from Niagara Falls and one from Hersheypark. But being surrounded by so many beautiful ornaments and Christmas decorations we couldn’t resist getting some today. And we’ve enjoyed Bethlehem so much this year that it makes sense to have ornaments from there to remind us of it. There was a very large section that was a special Christmas shop from Germany. Paul and I were very nostalgic when we recognized not just the style, but the exact ornament we bought in a shop in Brugge, Belgium. In fact, we saw a couple of other things we bought on that same trip, in Amsterdam. I was keen to buy another little wooden German ornament, but yikes! They cost $25 here! Could they have cost that equivalent when we were in Belgium, or is that a hiked up import price? We opted for a small glass ornament instead. At another stall a woodworker had “name icicle” ornaments. To everyone’s surprise they had both Clark and Tabitha. Clark has literally never seen his name on anything on a store, so of course we bought a set of each of our names.
We enjoyed watching an ice sculpture carving demonstration, and also taking pictures in front of this awesome setup.
Merry Christmas from Steel Stacks!//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.jsWe took the trolley over to the historical downtown and had lunch (outside! in December!) 2015-12-12 13.28.35 and visited the awesome bookstore. There were lots of musicians on the street, singing, and even a band of jogging Santas. A return to the tents and then we headed home. We kept the Christmas merriment going by building a cozy and completely unnecessary fire and watching A Nightmare Before Christmas. It was such a fun and festive day, and I’m always amazed by the sight of those Steel Stacks! Paul & Tabby at Steel Stacks//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Untitled//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.jsTree with Dramatic Backdrop

2015-12-12 15.50.30//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

That’s Entertainment

Posted on

I’ve been posting so infrequently that it is going to look like all we do is celebrate and go on outings. Last post was American Girl outing and aquarium, and well this one is more special events. Fair enough, they were all clustered together. First up was a play, which turned out to be so weird and awful that we left at the intermission. Here’s Paul’s write up. But then a couple days later Paul and I were off to (yet another) concert of 2015. This time we were seeing Guster, a band we’ve not only seen 3 times before, but already once this year.
Guster @ the Wellmont Theater//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js As with before it was at a theater that was not too big and we were right on the floor right in front of them.  It was a great show (except the crazy space hogging dancer next to me) and a lot of fun. Guster @ the Wellmont Theater//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

The very next day we went to another show, this one very local and lower key. It was one I knew little about, but Paul was excited. In a nutshell-some famous Canadians singing Sgt. pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band with a small orchestra backing. Here’s Paul’s full write up. It was great! Paul was drawn to the singers, while I am drawn to The Beatles, and we both enjoyed it very much. Plus we got to meet them afterward. It was a fun Sunday afternoon.

Here it is after Thanksgiving and I haven’t done my annual “Garden Evaluation and Recommendations.” I doubt I will this year. The garden was very lackluster and my recommendation is to buckle down and get to work next year. I guess the big thing is to put in some foundation plantings in front of the house where there once was that tree. I had intended to divide my peonies and hosta, but will now wait until the spring to do so. I did finally clear out the garden and was pleased do discover three thriving plants-catnip, parsley, and thyme. I cut armfuls and have hung them to dry.
FInal Harvest//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.jsIn the meantime we’ve got some grass seed and hay down, though it seems to have done nothing. Hopefully in the spring it will look better. Speaking of spring, I didn’t plant any bulbs this year-Paul and Tabby happily tackled that task. 2015-11-21 16.31.01 So it will be a nice surprise for me to see what comes up where. I’m told that many of the bulbs were used to make a giant smile face, while others were used to write the kids’ names. Can’t wait to see that! We don’t have much in the way of houseplants inside, but I’m thrilled with my beautiful blooming Christmas cactus. Christmas cactus//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js
My terrarium, which has been amazing for a year, has recently fizzled, though the millipede in there is happily alive and well, surprising us from time to time with an appearance.

Weeki Wachee Wha??

Posted on

Last week was the bizarre November break New Jersey kids get. In our school district my children only had 1 1/2 days of school! (Tabby only had one-she was feeling unwell and stayed home on the half day. She was thrilled to come to dog class with me and Willow.)  We mostly hung around at home doing normal things but there were two special events planned. The first was a trip to the American Girl Place in New York. This was a super special birthday event for Tabby and it was (not surprisingly) a girls only event-Tabby, me, and my mom. We had a wonderful time! On the one hand, the whole American Girl scene is nuts-outrageously expensive, a giant business that boomed unbelievably, sometimes over-the-top, and so on. I mean, we were going to eat lunch in a restaurant in a 3 story store. But guess what? It was SUPER.
A Special Trip//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.jsWonderful attention to detail, less shopping, more of an “experience”, and the lunch was charming. I think it will be a very special memory for all of us. Despite the Lincoln Tunnel’s best attempts to thwart us, we managed to arrive just in time for our 11am lunch seating. The restaurant is decorated in pink, white, and black. If you don’t have a doll to sit with you, you can borrow one. If you do have a doll (of course we brought Molly!) they have special seats for them to join you at the table. Your napkin holder is actually a little hairband with a bow that you keep. It’s a prixe fixe situation, so first they bring out tiny warm cinnamon rolls. Then comes a plate of unusual appetizers for the table (some vegetables and grapes, weird pretzel sticks, a couple pigs in blankets, and a cup of cheesy sauce.) Then you choose your entree (they printed the calories for everything on the menu in equal, if not larger, font than the name of the item. MADDENING. I already decided on your quiche, don’t hit me over the head with the fact that it’s more calories than I should have in a day.) The food was actually quite good. 2015-11-05 11.12.09 We had a nice time and of course enjoyed people watching. Dessert is lovely-a flowerpot of chocolate mousse and a vanilla cupcake with a little shortbread heart cookie. Tabby had a candle and a song for her birthday. (The desserts were super delicious.) American Girl Dessert//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js
Even the restroom was interesting because the stalls have special hangers on the wall for your doll!
2015-11-05 12.41.27
After lunch it was time to explore the store. We were delighted by the installations for the historical dolls, which included memorabilia, interactive quizzes, music, and more. Of course, we did end up doing a little shopping and now Molly has a sassy Santa dress, sequined beret, jeans, and new glasses. And possibly something will show up at Christmas, too….  All in all, we had a lot of fun.
Grandma & Tabby//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.jsMe and my girl at American Girl Place, NYC.//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

(Meanwhile Paul and Clark had a nice day together with a couple hours at work and then a nice lunch out.)

The next day was fun for all of us. We used to belong to the aquarium and have been many times, but not for a very long time. Clark’s been asking to go and this seemed like a great time to plan for, so off we went. Clark was quite pleased to get to use a wheelchair while there.
Clark enjoyed having to use a wheelchair//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.jsIt turns out that we hadn’t been there in 3 years and there were quite a few changes. Still, it’s a nice aquarium and we had a good time. in the touch tank-sea stars and anemones//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Terrifying Prehistoric Creatures//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.jsIn fact, Paul was thrilled by how many kind of exciting things happened: the sting rays were extra splashy and he got to touch them a lot, the octopus (usually sulking in a dark corner) came out and moved around put his suckery tentacles all over the glass, we saw the hippos being fed and they totally looked like Hungry, Hungry, Hippos when they chomped their lettuce, and then there were the mermaids. Weeki Wachee Mermaids! When we found out they were going to be at the aquarium the same day as us we were pretty excited. If you don’t know who they are you can read about it here.  It wasn’t quite the same as being in Florida-only one mermaid in the tank at a time, she wasn’t doing a show-just waving and smiling and being beautiful, but it was still fun to see. And also cool that she was in the giant tank with the sea turtles, sharks, and sting rays. Weeki Wachee Mermaids//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js
2015-11-06 14.09.47
It was  a very nice day!
Dad & Lad//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.jsFamily Portrait//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

What else is new? Clark had a follow up visit to the doctor and his foot is healing well. He is now off crutches, but still in the boot. He is very happy about that.  We trained Willow to the invisible fence and she was a quick learner and doing great. It makes such a difference for us to be able to do stuff outside and have her out there with us, but not have to actively following her around. We’d all been feeling rather tired and grouchy (and by all I mean me and Paul) because for several weeks now she’s been in a terrible habit of waking up at 4am and 5am. it was frustrating and exhausting.  However, just as suddenly as it started it has stopped. She really is a super dog.

IMG_5049

This morning I took her to the park and down by the river where I let her off leash. Last time we were there I didn’t and this time I thought it seemed safe enough (far away from the trail) and boy was she happy to be able to just get out there in the river and run through it. A joy to behold.
Willow set free in the river at last//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js
I also started quilting my Halloween quilt (concentric squares), but have no pictures as of yet. You can all just know that I’m very happy about it. As happy as I am to see my Give Thanks banner up and my little pilgrims and turkeys set out. It’s the start of the holiday season! yeah!