28 September 2016

A Getaway

We took a trip to Maine over the weekend. It was not my favorite trip. There were several unfortunate elements to the trip, such as

 -all our kids were sick

-we hit a bear on the drive down  (After we hit the bear, Steve asked me if I wanted to go back and check on it and The Bairn got upset and told him, "We have to get to our cabinet.  We don't have time to visit bears."  I don't know if he was worried about bears coming out of the woods or if he was really eager to go to the cabin.)

-our cabin looked a bit like this (we were staying at a Quaker camp that allows the teens who usually stay there to write on the walls/ceilings/bunks):

-because E was sick and I was nursing N, I was sleeping on the floor with an open sleeping bag and couldn't figure out how to keep warm at night until the last night

On the bright side,

-our cabin accommodation included a hot breakfast and dinner buffet in the dining hall every night

-we discovered an amazing children's museum

-we love the Common Ground fair and I got the fiddlehead ravioli this time, which I've been waiting to eat again for the last three years

Here's E chasing pigeons in Portland.  She also ran pigeons into the street in Bangor, in a super creepy city square where she took no note whatsoever of the slightly menacing human loiterers, because of her overwhelming love of birds.  
At lunch on this day, lots of elderly admirers came over to talk to E and compliment her on her curly hair and each time, she scowled at them and corrected them that it's not her hair, it's her "magic horn" (when she has a little ponytail on top of her head).

The Bairn sliding on cardboard at the Common Ground Fair

The Bairn hammering nails at the Common Ground Fair

The Bairn trying on masks at the fair

Little E

The Bairn assisting in the recreation of a moose skeleton

E looking sick and sad at the fair (a common look for her the entire weekend)

The Bairn in the park across the street from the capitol building in Augusta.  He insisted on taking a picture of it, because he claimed it was a temple.  He could tell because of the gold "angel" on top.

N hates going on trips.

E also looked like this a lot.

But she did enjoy bits of her vacation.

17 September 2016

4.5 Months Old

Baby Natey is 4 1/2 months old. He can roll and scoot backwards and get up on his knees (while face planting).  I love to put him in fuzzy pajamas and pretend he is a teddy bear, because he's so soft and sweet and has extra fat thighs that make me want to eat him up.

His favorite things are milk, his brother, and his sister.  The Bairn makes him laugh and laugh, often by doing dangerous things like lifting him off the bed and then letting him fall back down.  His least favorite thing is teething, but he still does it like a pro.  I expect a tooth from him any day now.

We love love love him.

Here he is admiring The Bairn, which takes up a lot of his time each day.

Here he is investigating a baby doll before tasting her.

30 August 2016

We're Still Not Good at Having Our Pictures Taken

We haven't gotten any better at this.  And it appears that we still need one more person in our family.

28 August 2016

Gems from The Bairn

Upon finding a dead frog in the yard, "Well, I guess Jesus will just resurrect him."

Feeling unsatisfied that I don't know how he can go find God while he's still alive, "Maybe we could ask Santa Claus.  He has some magic he could use to help us."  (I've never endorsed Santa Claus or told my kids that anything they receive on Christmas is from Santa Claus, but The Bairn has suddenly decided that he is the real deal.  He spent part of the morning examining a World Book to try to find Santa's house in the North Pole.)

At bedtime on a day when he was reprimanded for behaving too loudly at a function, "Oh, mom, I am not an expert at quiet."

While at a playground near a Lions' Club building with Steve, "But how did the lions build this?  They just have paws."

Snuggling me at bedtime, "Do you know why I love you so much?  Because you are my mama."

10 August 2016

Three Months Old

Our baby boy is three months old.  Almost 3 1/2.  When you're number three and it's canning season (zucchini pineapple and raspberry jam this past week!) and your mama is helping run a small business (I started this post an hour ago and then got distracted writing a job description for the new employee and sending out an invoice), sometimes it takes a bit longer than it should to get your own special monthly post up.

Anyway, Natey is our doll baby.

He's getting very tall and he's passing that Winston Churchill phase and starting to look like his own sweet self.

Here he is working on escaping off this blanket.

He can roll from his tummy to his back and scoots himself off his blanket during tummy time somehow.

He doesn't really care for the sling and he's not a fan of daytrips, so life's rough for him, but he's very good-natured anyway.

Sometimes we call him Franklin because he looks a bit like a baby turtle without his shell.

He absolutely adores the older kids and may love The Bairn more than anyone else in the family.  He absolutely lights up for his brother.

He laughs when we tickle him or say silly things to him.

He freezes when I pull out the camera, but, look! baby shorts.

We love him so.  My favorite part of the day is when all three kids snuggle up in bed first thing in the morning with me and Steve and sing Natey songs and ask him questions while he yawns and laughs.

18 July 2016

Kids of Summer

This one gives great big smiles, but he's shy for the camera.  (Also, he hates the outdoors, making his life very difficult this summer.  He's happiest lying on my bed in the air conditioning.)

One day I left him in his carrier when we came home from an outing and while I was unpacking the car, the bigger kids gave him some toys.  Ellen is fanatical about ensuring that he always gets his time with that monkey.

A boy in a strawberry cut-out wearing his cousin Tooie's shirt.

Hiking.  The Bairn loves it.  Ellen asks if it's over yet so she can eat a picnic.

But she enjoys the sights along the way.

The Bairn was determined to catch a fish at this nature playground, but all either of the kids got was a water skeeter.

The mud kitchen made up for the lack of fish.

Saturday was a family reunion.  The kids were thrilled by the potluck dessert selection and the abundant juice selection that elderly relatives kept offering them.  I cut Ellen off after 2 cupcakes and 2 juice boxes but she still threw up all over my lap (and on the baby brother sitting there).

We've had a new baby for every family reunion we've attended.  It makes us very popular with the older generations.

Ellen and a distant cousin (they have the same great-great-grandfather).  When I ask Ellen to smile, she makes fake dimples in her cheeks with her fingers.  I don't know why.  She has real ones.

08 July 2016


Back in the spring, Steve found an old play structure for free and he and his dad picked it up and set it up in our backyard for our kids.  I was thrilled.  The kids were thrilled.  The neighbor kids, it turns out, were thrilled.

Behind us, there is a four-plex rental property.  The people who live there are nice.  Recently a man and his two daughters, a 7-year-old and a 5-year-old moved in.  The Bairn calls them "The Friends" and loves them dearly even though they're mostly feral and kind of jerkfaces.  I arbitrate at least 5 altercations between The Friends and my kids every hour that they're outside on our play structure together.  While they're over, The Friends sometimes help themselves to the strawberries in my garden before throwing sand at my kids and taunting them with promises of the various treats in the fast food meals they carry over with them.  We have a rule that The Friends can't be in our yard unless someone from our family is outside too.  I claim that this is to ensure that if anyone gets hurt, an adult will be nearby to help, but it's as much about the frequency with which I see those girls dancing on the top of their dad's car--I wouldn't like a repeat at my house.

I'd really like to be the kindly neighbor who loves all the troubled children and invites them in for cookies and long talks, but I'm actually the grouchy neighbor yelling, "Hey, you kids, get off my grass!"

Picking strawberries at a farm down the road, since the neighbors are eating all the ones we're growing.

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