Lilac loveliness

Grey and Adam admire the nest. Thane tries to grab onto Adam's backpack.
Grey Thane and Adam admire the nest. Thane Grey tries to grab onto Adam's backpack.

It was a busy weekend this weekend – even by my criteria. There were about 6 loads of laundry, 3 sets of dishes, two lawns mown, a three year old’s birthday, two aikido practices, one jello mold attempt and one 60s dance party. And that was just Saturday.

Today after church, I decided the weather was so lovely that I had to find my way down to the Arnold Arboretum for my annual sniffing of the lilacs. It was glorious weather, and glorious sniffing, for all it was two weeks before the planned Lilac Event, with the warm spring my timing was perfect. We wandered, romped, rolled, rough-housed, sneaked, ran and sniffed to our heart’s content. I realized, actually, that this annual event last year was just about the last time I walked without limping in the last year. I was much better, but very nervous on the rough ground today.

Anyway, the pictures I took reminded me that oh! I have a camera! And I should maybe download the pictures on it!

So here you are: a few pictures from recent days!

Mother’s Day Weekend

I suppose Friday afternoon is a bit latish for a “What I did this weekend” update, but hey. I know these are fascinating – transfixing! – and I cannot deny you your pleasures.

A while back (aka the middle of February), I talked about how desperately I needed a break, a Sabbath, a weekend off. I promptly didn’t do it for 3 months. But finally the stars aligned and I put it on the calendar, and this past weekend we did none of our accustomed things. Not even the laundry. Instead, we took our boys on adventures.

Saturday we went to Old Sturbridge Village. The forecast was for rain – thunderstorms – so I was afraid our trip might be abbreviated. We went anyway. The weather during the morning and early afternoon was superb, although it did start pouring just as we drove out of the parking lot. But because of the dire predictions, on this beautiful spring morning the historical village was nearly deserted by tourists (like us), but all the period actors were there! Best of all worlds. Thane’s favorite part of the adventure was, hands down, the water pump:

Seriously, a spring Saturday
Seriously, a spring Saturday at like noon.

I think my husband and I found the Blacksmith most fascinating:

I love how he keeps his coffee warm
I love how he keeps his coffee warm

The potter was really neat:

It was hypnotic to watch
It was hypnotic to watch

Grey’s favorite part might have been throwing rocks into the pond. He spent half his time there looking for a perfect skipping rock.

Daddy needed a Thane blanket...
Daddy needed a Thane blanket...

And there was more – the carding mill, the hydo power, the sheep, the cows, the stilts, the schoolhouse (Grey found a feather and spent 5 minutes doing his “homework” with his “quill pen”.), the hoops game, the carriage ride. And we didn’t see nearly all there was to see. It was really neat.

Sunday was more great adventures! First there was sleeping in. (My favorite part of Mother’s Day!) Then we went to the Arnold Arboretum for the Lilac Festival. Lilacs + Morris Dancers = totally made for me. The boys spent a lot of time wandering around an ancient and spreading beech tree. I sniffed many lilacs. There was fried dough. There were two (2) rubber chicken Morris dancing catapults. The weather was only so-so and the children were frankly recalcitrant but it was still awesome.

Handsome man, framed by flowers, watching his son roll down the hill.
Handsome man, framed by flowers, watching his son roll down the hill.

And that, my friends, was my Mother’s Day Weekend off. I couldn’t have asked for better!

(And here are all the pictures!)

Celebrations of a jet-lagged mother

Smiles in sunshine
Smiles in sunshine

I still owe you some summaries of my trip to Europe. It was really a neat experience. Basically, we’d spent about 10 hours in a windowless conference room discussing projects. This does not merit blogging upon, except to touch on the fact I must be doing ok at the new job since they gave me a second high profile, big-deal project to manage. Not code, manage. Since that’s the direction I wanted to go, I’m trying very hard not to go into actual-coding withdrawal. Anyway, after 10 or so hours of complete senescence, we’d rise in order to drive to that night’s restaurant. And then we’d spend three or four hours eating. OH MY GOODNESS. I actually did gain 3 pounds in a week — a combination of lack of activity and 3 to 4 hour French dinners. I had beef, duck, white asparagus & rabbit. Yum!!!
My hotel in Obernai - from the back

On our way home, we flew about 50 miles north of the volcano. I watched the ash plume and the southward streamers heading to disrupt other planes. It was a quite a sight to watch.

When I got home, 100% of the human males were running temperatures. Thane scored triple medication during the week: otic eardrops with antibiotics, oral antibiotics & an antifungal cream for a diaper rash. Poor kid. Grey had gotten sent home with a 101 degree fever, which would’ve been worse if my husband hadn’t come home with a fever feeling terrible. So deeply jetlagged as I was, I was still in the best shape. Yesterday, we mostly vegged. There was lots of tv. And Wii. And computer games. Because really? There are times when it is appropriate to do your best lump-impression, and a rainy, stormy day when the entire family is sick counts as a good lump-day.

But today, against my more realistic expectations, everyone seemed fine. Great even! Amazing the impact that two naps can have on a body. So we went to church. It was a really awesome service. The kids are just an overwhelming force in the sanctuary. We were doing this Genesis creation play we’ve done before. There are about 20 elements of the play that the kids wave over their heads. We ran out.

And it was good
And it was good

Then after the service I got to chat with a new family who was visiting the church. It warms the cockles of the heart to see the congregation grow and thrive, and to watch those joyful and energetic young faces! I’d also like to say on the record that we don’t pay our preschool Sunday School teachers nearly enough. (Side note: I’ve discovered that our young adults are usually surprised and shocked to learn that the position of Sunday School teacher is an unpaid one.)
Thane and I at the top of the hill
Thane and I at the top of the hill

After service, I figured the kids would start wilting, but they were doing quite well, actually. My heart had been longing to go to the Arnold Arboretum for their annual lilac festival that happens on Sunday of Mother’s day. I had thought yesterday it was out of the question, but at the last minute on a whim (as you could tell by my inappropriate garb) we decided to go. We had a ball. There were the Morris dancers (I love Morris dancers). The sun was bright, but it was cool and windy. There was ice cream. There was wandering. We wandered through scads of fragrant lilacs. Grey rolled down a grassy hill about 10 times. You might hear rumors that I rolled down — in my Sunday dress. Mere rumors, I assure you. I’m far to dignified and well-socialized for such tomfoolery.
SAFE!
SAFE!

Of course, the remainder of the day was dinner and cleaning and grocery shopping and antibiotic dosing, etc. But you know what? I’ll take it. My Grey is so super snuggly and affectionate. I love this age, and I love who he is. He is so loving towards me, and the rest of the family. Today he made up a song about how much he loved Thane. And he gives me such great kisses and hugs — I wish I could bottle them against future adolescent dignity.

And now the Red Sox are actually winning a game against the Yankees (wonder of wonders!) and we have tickets for tomorrow (look for us in the Bleachers) and life is just good.

The ever-fascinating weekend review

One of the challenges of blogging is coming up with new content regularly (my goal is five new posts a week) without falling into a “Then after I ate my Honey-Nut Cheerios, Grey said something funny” detail about what’s been going on. No one wants to read that. And really? I don’t want to write that day in and day out. But mixed in with “I want to write about _____ but it’s a big topic and will take me a while to get right” and suddenly you notice a week has gone by without an update.

As one of my friends sometimes says when we get whiny about such dilemmas, “First world problems.”

Mommy forgot her real camera and had to use her phone
Mommy forgot her real camera and had to use her phone

So here, in concise summary, are the important things about my weekend.

1) It was a bad week in the life of elder statespeoples in my world. My Godfather had a serious heart attack. He deserves a longer post with more explanation. He also deserves a nice long letter from me. (I called him last night, but he’s rather hard of hearing, so while I learned plenty about how HE’S doing, he didn’t learn much about how I’M doing.) He is a very important contributor to me becoming who I am, and I hope that he has several years. Hopefully I’ll manage to write more about this, but in case I don’t, this much is important.

Also, the wife of my growing-up pastor currently has no knee and an infection post surgery. Neither of those things is good or enjoyable. I hope they both get resolved.

2) Saturday was a lazy-day. We had meant to go hiking, but instead we just hung out. In an awesome turn of events, we ended up spending most of the evening with our neighbors, eating their burgers and drinking their beer. It’s really nice to spend time with people you like, while you watch your kids play together. It’s also very interesting to see how your house looks from your neighbors house. In extra-bonusage, one of our neighbors is an architect and he thinks our roof has 3 – 5 years. I’m happy with any amount of time that is not “Dear God you must replace this thing RIGHT NOW!” I think I am glad I am not an architect who always looks at the world and sees it falling down.

3) Mother’s Day festivities fell into two parts. Part the first was my loot. Specifically, I got a digital photo frame. I’m really happy with it. I’ve truly gotten better at taking pictures, but no better at ordering prints or updating my flip book at work. (I think the most recent pictures I have of Grey, he’s about the age Thane is now.) Since so much of my photographia is digital, a digital photo frame looks more likely to get updates. Also, my kids are cute.

Part the second was going to the Lilac Festival at the Arnold Arboretum. Lilacs are my favorite flowers. There were also Morris Dancers there, which flashed me back to Make We Joy — happy memories! I kept expecting to see Danny Spurr pop up. And I drank my fill of fragrant lilac-scents and watched Grey learn the joys of rolling down a grassy hill. On the downside, we needed to bring a hat for Thane and we didn’t, and we needed to get sunscreen on him earlier than we did. He didn’t get burned — at least nothing that was still burned this morning — but he did get more sun that we should have let him get.

Then I came home and de-dandylioned the back lawn. This was an epic task, but needed to be done before the first mowing, which desperately needed to be done.

Here’s a difference between a 2.5 year old and a 3.5 year old. With the 3.5 year old, you really can work in the back yard and tell him to entertain himself while you work, and actually get some work done. This can be accomplished for even 30 minutes! (Astonishment!) I’ll take it.

Thus having informed my readership (er, hi mom!) of the important parts of my weekend, I go to optimize my search query! (I think I need a cape at work. That would definitely improve my code. Maybe with a cool logo….)