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!)


Like Bilbo Baggins, my wanderlust usually peaks in September. I smell the crisp air, see the long horizons, and desire to walk until the far hills are no mystery.

This spring, however, my feet have been itchier than usual. I have my theories about why this is the case. For one thing, it was a horrible, brutal, claustrophobic winter. The outside world became one shovel wide, from my front door to my car to my office and back again. My life is also highly regimented and organized. I believe I’ve complained (one or two…thousand times) about how strict and unrelenting my weekend schedule is. It’s gotten somewhat better with the elimination of swimming lessons, but it seems like a bajillion years since we had a break in the routine. And it can be really hard to deal with children outside their expected routines. My dearest and beloved son Thane is 2.5. In a completely developmentally appropriate and normal way, that means it’s almost impossible to do ANYTHING with him. So, we do things we know how to do in very predictable ways that don’t mess up nap time. This is what it means to be a parent.

We eventually got about twice this in snowpack
We eventually got about twice this in snowpack

No wonder my feet itch. I love my family dearly, and have no desire to throw away any portion of what I have. But there’s a lurking awareness in my gas-foot that if I just keep pressing, well, New Hampshire lies that ways. Then Vermont. I’ve never been to Montreal you know. (You’re not carrying your passport woman.) Fine, I haven’t seen Niagara Falls since I was three. I could probably make it there by mid-afternoon… aren’t the Red Sox playing the Indians tonight? That’s totally driveable!.

But of course my brake-foot rescues me and I make that turn off the freeway and into the parking lot.

Still. There are adventures afoot.

Last year's lilac festival
Last year's lilac festival

I’ve declared this weekend a “Sabbath” weekend. (Hey honey, tell Sensei you won’t be there on Saturday!) I’m thinking Old Sturbridge Village, but haven’t finally decided. On Sunday is the Lilac Festival at the Arnold Arboretum, which is a favorite of mine. Both not too far, but definitely out of the mold!

Then, my brother graduates from graduate school in three weeks. Now, New Jersey isn’t likely to be as splendid as his Vermont graduation was, but I’m going by myself. Road trip. With my crazy family who are the ones who planned the “Great Holes of the West” tour (which did not include the Grand Canyon), declared Head Smashed in Buffalo Jump a favorite family destination, drove the Al-Can (my Dad drove it home… in December), and, for my graduation, did a tour of all the New England states in one day. (No problem.) Bring it on!

Then, after that, there’s camping. I cannot WAIT to go camping this year. My husband cannot wait to go camping. Grey cannot wait to go camping. Thane says, “I not TALKING to you!” (at the top of his voice, repeatedly), but you can’t get 100%, now can you? I have three camping trips planned, and hopes to sneak a fourth in.

Long vistas await
Long vistas await

And after that, there’s Camp Gramp! We’re going out for longer than usual. I’m planning on going to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival to catch, at a minimum, Henry IV part II and Pirates of Penzance on the frickin’ Elizabethan! And maybe, if my husband is super indulgent, we can go to Mt. Shasta and Crater Lake, and take 97 home, which I’ve never done.
Lithia Park is a lovely place, which I miss quite a lot
Lithia Park is a lovely place, which I miss quite a lot


Is it Friday yet?

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….)