Thursday, August 28, 2008

And So It Begins...

This morning James & I attended the Open House for Josie's new pre-school. It went really well. Josie seemed to be very comfortable and started engaging with the other kids right away.

Josie has been at home with me for the past 2 years. The only time she gets to see other kids is when we take her to the Kid's Zone at the gym or when she visits with Joey. I've never hired a babysitter for her - leaving her only with family members if needed. She really needs this pre-school... and I really need a cry! My baby princess is on her way !

She is a very smart and sweet girl... and she is also very assertive. I'm choosing my words carefully here because as the mother of two daughters, I know that labels are dangerous. Girls are called 'bossy' when exhibiting the same behavior that merits a boy being called a 'leader'. Go figure. Anyway, I embrace both my girls strengths.

Here's a few photos I was able to get while all the parents stood around getting acquainted:

Josie - Just like her Dad. (She found the toy cars right away!)

Playdoh seemed to be the most popular attraction at the Open House..

And here is Josie's teacher: Mrs. J. She seems very nice and able to handle the group. (A far better woman than I !! )

This is the beginning of the end for James & I... at least where children are concerned. Maddie has started High School (it's going REALLY WELL!) and now Josie is off to classes. I'm sad but relieved. Josie is my last child. Although we have quite a few years until we send her off to college, it makes me a bit sad that the journey has begun.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Massachusetts Getaway (or..."How We Dropped in on Aunt Mary and Uncle Nick with a Weeks Notice)

The weekend before last, our dear friend Mary made the mistake of calling to say hello...

The result was me packing up the girls and driving up to Massachusetts on Monday the 18th. We decided to end our summer with a visit to Aunt Mary, Uncle Nick and Ryan in Marshfield. We spent the night in Boston on the 18th. Once we checked in, we walked from our hotel in the Seaport District to Quincy Market. We watched some performers, shopped and had a quick bite for dinner. On Tuesday, we played tourist and boarded a tour trolley. We hit most of the major attractions, including a side tour of Harvard Square. We packed up our stuff that afternoon and headed down to Marshfield where a beautiful breeze and beautiful Aunt Mary awaited...

Both Nick & Mary worked on Wednesday so the girls and I waited until it warmed up (temps were in the 60's in the AM) and walked to the beach. Bad timing on our part, as the tide was high and water crashed on the rocks. We made due with kicking back in the yard. Josie entertained herself for a full four hours playing "puppets" in the sun room while I read a book (first time in ages!) and Maddie caught up with her electronic gadgets.

On Thursday, I picked James up at Logan Airport (he was in California on business) and then headed out on Nick & Mary's boat. We cruised around for a while on calm seas and then pulled a few lobster pots that Mary's brother, Jim, had put out earlier in the day. The first pot had two huge female lobster laden with eggs - so we had to throw them back in... heartbreaking. The rest of the pots were empty, so we we went home empty handed but happy - it was a beautiful day at sea and Mary was an excellent Captain!

Once we pulled back in to the marina, I got Josie off the boat while James, Mary and Maddie did the hard work of cleaning and closing up the boat. I was a bit scared of having Josie around the floating docks. She is not at all comfortable around the water yet, so best she stayed on dry land while the adults were busy.

Of course, being the slacker that I am, I kept busy taking photos of Josie while the others worked (sorry, guys!)

Friday was the ultimate beach day - Nick was able to take Friday off and we all headed to the beach with chairs, cooler and suntan lotion. It was a breezy day, full out sunshine with warm water to dip our toes in. Here's Uncle Nick enjoying a well-earned day off:

Josie got some quality time in with Aunt Mary:

And the rest of us got a nice tan and a day of rest and relaxation.

On both Friday and Saturday mornings, we awoke at 5:30 to catch the sunrise. Mary and I wanted to catch some photos but our results were mixed. The skies were so clear that there were no clouds to lend 'drama' to the sunrise - just a few spectacular colors that didn't translate well to film...

Maddie came along on Saturday morning, so I got some subdued shots of her:

Finally, after a few hours on the beach Saturday, we had to make the 10 hour drive home. It was hard to say goodbye to everyone. James has been daydreaming about buying a house up in Marshfield, which would make us all very happy. Everyone we spent time with there was so welcoming and friendly. It seems we have the BEST time there. Thanks to our Marshfield family for making sure we had such a great visit.

Friday, August 15, 2008

More Good News about Mad's High School

There was another  story about Maddie's new High School on the news last night.  We are very excited that Maddie is attending this school, and from the look of things, so are a lot of other folks.  

(I tried to embed the video but couldn't figure it out! Please click on the link to get to the story - Thanks!)

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Take A Hike!!

James' brother Ken and our nephews, Alex & Brandon are visiting with us. They live in California so we don't get to see them often. We have been having so much fun showing the boys around our area. Yesterday, while James attended a conference for work, Ken & I took the kids on a hike. The trail wasn't a hard or long one - but from all the bellyaching they did, you would think they were scaling the Himalayans!

Once they started noting the interesting things along the trail, though, they had a great time. Here, Ken points out tree fungus to the kids:

And, hiking is also much more fun when there's climbing involved!

Ken & I were also subjected to the antics of our resident posers, Maddie and Alex!!

Here's Ken and Brandon making their way along the trail:

And, this was our final destination: We thought there was an actual cabin at the end of the trail, but there was only this marker:

The kids were a bit disappointed by there being no cabin, but being able to climb on the downed trees more than made up for it !! (You would think that after living here for 4 years I would have known this, but I guess that just proves that there's a whole lot left to explore in our own town!!)

Wednesday, August 6, 2008


In mid-July, we had a portrait taken of all my parents grandkids. We had one done in 2001 when the kids were much younger. Since that time, Josie has been added to the gang. The kids hardly resemble that old photo... they've grown so much!

We hired a wonderful photographer, Kyle Hughes, who is based out of Ocean City, Maryland. My parents live just over the border in Delaware and Kyle met us at the State Park to take the portraits. Kyle was fantastic with the kids and he barred all parents from the shoot. A wise move... they obeyed his every command! Plus, once Josie saw all her cousins (whom she ADORES!) and her big sister playing in the sand, she gladly joined in. The resulting shots are nothing short of a miracle. We are so thankful that Kyle possessed the 'right stuff' to get such treasured shots of the kids.

(Knelling: Liam,10, Zack 15:
Seated: Jack, 8; Kate, 10; Maddie, 14; Josie, 3)

Each family had separate sibling shots taken, with Chaz & Kim getting an excellent family portrait done as well. I hope Kim will get them to me so I can share them here. So, here are the shots of the girls that I just HAD to have. (As an aside... there are no single shots of Maddie - we had her portraits taken when she was 7 and she will have separate ones done when she graduates high school.)

And, my favorite one of Josie:

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

A Beach Visit

We had nothing planned for a few days, so given the hot weather, we hopped in the car and headed out to see Grandmom & PopPop! It was much cooler at the beach. We kept ourselves busy picking peaches, going to the beach, going to the pool and feeding the ducks:

After posing on the beach for a portrait in mid-July, we thought Josie had resolved her issues with sand... We were wrong. She will walk on the sand with her sandals on, but insists on being carried to the shoreline. She doesn't like the waves and she will NOT go anywhere near where they might push up to her toes. It's a bit hard to handle, given all the kids in our family are part fish. However, I hold out hope that Josie will get over her dislike of the beach like her cousin, Liam did. When Liam was Josie's age, he hated the sand and all things associated with the beach. Now, he's a real surfer dude. So, we'll just bide our time and hope for the best...

Maddie, on the other hand, loves the beach, and doesn't care too much for the pool. But, she humors me and joins us for our visits to the community pool. She knows how much Josie loves being there. Josie is fascinated by the other children and does her best to make friends. She's a bit shy, but more times than not, her desire to play with others wins out over the bashful routine!

We were lucky that James was able to join us for two days while we were gone. Things are busy for him at work and we also have the issue of who will look after the dogs. My Dad is a total pain in the --- when it comes to the dogs. Oh well, that's the price to paid for a "free" vacation spot.

One of Josie's favorite things about visiting the beach (besides being spoiled to bits by Grandmom & her friend, Miss Mary!) is feeding the ducks. If you stand on the back deck, the ducks see you and literally come right over to grab a free meal. Josie grabs her bread (and her Grandmom!) and heads out back calling, "Here ducks, here ducks!' And, darned if they don't come waddling! Last night a Mom duck and her two babies came for a visit:

We're hoping to squeeze in a bit more beach time before the girls go back to school. That's right, !! Miss Josie is starting Pre-K classes this fall!! She will attend Tues/Thurs morning sessions in the 3 year olds class. We are very excited!! Maddie also starts at her new school on August 25th. We will attend the blessing of her new high school this coming Sunday and I can't wait to see how much things have changed since our last tour in April... till then, Hope you're all having a great summer!!