Snow Concert

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Here's the video from Rebecca's snow concert. Although there was no snow on the ground, it did flurry for the event. Rebecca is in the front row in the gray sweater, white shirt, and purple plaid skirt. Too bad she's so camera shy (not!).

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Are You Friggin Kidding Me Santa?

Saturday, December 4, 2010

All that effort for this
Holden held the annual girlscout caroling, Santa arrival, and tree lighting event tonight. Rebecca was a trooper who sang enthusiastically and then waited patiently in line to see Santa. Gregory, on the other hand, had a bit of trouble. He was cold (give me a break - this year it was a balmy 34 degrees - I still remember 3 years ago when the temp topped out at 13 degrees), he wanted to sit in the car, he needed to use the bathroom, etc. With a combination of holding him, encouraging him and wrestling him, I managed to string him along until he and Rebecca got a chance to sit with Santa. My motive? To get a Santa picture so I don't have to shell out $30 at the mall this year for one. When they finally made it to Santa's lap I snapped a quick picture from the side. Then I moved into the prime photo spot right in front of the big man, at which point my camera battery died. My comment to Santa: Are you friggin kidding me?

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How Not To Dress A 4 Year Old For Halloween

Monday, November 1, 2010

Glowing Fairy Princess and War Machine

Hope everyone had a safe and fun Halloween. What did the kids dress up as? Rebecca was a fairy princess with battery powered LED lights embedded in her skirt and Gregory was War Machine. That's right, I let my 4 year old dress up as War Machine (for those of you who are not in the know, War Machine is the silver Iron Man type guy from Iron Man 2). I'm not even sure if he's good or bad, although I believe he was played by Mickey Rourke? At any rate, we didn't set out to Target for a War Machine costume. Gregory originally wanted to be a tiger. He wanted to wear his favorite tiger 'costume', an old dress up dress of Rebecca's with black and white leopard spot trim. He's convinced it's a tiger costume and he puts it on and runs around the house attacking people. So you can imagine why I encouraged him to go to Target for a 'real' costume. Well, as soon as he saw the 'silver Iron Man' costume, the tiger idea went out the window. It was love at first sight. At the time I didn't know the difference between the silver and red Iron Man, so I agreed. Before we checked out I had figured out that the costume he had picked was called War Machine, but he was so happy with it I didn't have the heart to make him put it back. I must be getting soft in my old age.

So Gregory's nursery school had a costume parade Friday. They requested no violent superhero costumes so I figured they probably wouldn't appreciate War Machine. Somehow I managed to talk Gregory into wearing last year's Yoda costume. Saturday was pumpkin carving and I was quite proud that Rebecca managed to scoop out and carve her 'challenging' pattern all by herself (and it came out better than the one I did for Gregory!). And of course, trick-or-treating on Sunday night. Greg and I were impressed by the Dad who was trick-or-treating with his kids and simultaneously watching the Patriot's game on his phone. All in all, a successful Halloween. Now I just have to figure out how to stop raiding the kid's candy.

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My Morning Jacket and Shellfish

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Marshall Point Lighthouse

The family made the trek up to Freeport Maine this past weekend for a wild and fun weekend. Friday night Greg and I, along with Jif, Chris, Kenny, Amy, and friends, all had tickets to see My Morning Jacket open the State Theater in Portland. Mom and Dad generously offered their babysitting services for all 4 grandkids so we could all see the show. Jim James has an awesome voice and stage presence and according to him, MMJ had some revenge to take on the State Theater on account of their bass player who became extremely ill last time they played the venue after eating bad shellfish. Go figure. At any rate, revenge was found in the form of loud music and high energy which made for a great show. Here's their final encore. I'm in the center of the back of the floor in a white tee-shirt. And no, I couldn't find myself.

On Saturday Greg and I took Rebecca, Gregory, and cousin Evan up to Camden with a side trip to the Marshall Point lighthouse in Port Clyde. We experienced some wild, windy weather to the point where the kiddies were somewhat worried about being "blown away" on the walkway to the lighthouse (they later decided the wind was "cool"). We hit up Cappy's Chowder House in Camden for lunch where I ate some extremely good shellfish, before retreating back to Freeport.

Rebecca holds on for dear life

Mom and Dad generously offered to babysit again Saturday night and who are we to squash their dreams of watching all 4 grandchildren at once? So we headed out and hit 2 parties before crashing at Kenny's house at the ungodly hour of 4 AM. I haven't been out that late since college and with good reason - it took me 2 days just to start feeling normal again!

Thanks to Mom and Dad, Jif, Chris, Kenny, and Amy for babysitting, accomodations, and general fun. Love you guys!

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Join Rebecca's Girl's Club

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Rebecca loves to create things. Her newest invention is her 'Girl's Club', which apparently includes all over her female cousins. Here are some materials she has created (I provide translations below each - her ideas are good but she still needs to work on her spelling. My comments are in italics.):

  1. The Rules

    Girls Club Rules

    1. No Boys Allowed

    2. No Spitting Possibly directed at her little brother

    3. No Teasing

    4. Have Fun

  2. Club Book - She made one for each of her cousins. This one is for her cousin Sophia.

  3. Meeting Schedule

    1. Meeting

    2. Recess

    3. Make a map of your ?

    4. Secret Handshake

    5. And last, just in case you forget ... Go back home

  4. Girl's Club Promise (slightly pilfered from the Girl Scouts)

    I promise to protect girls from boys and to serve god and girls.

So who out there is ready to join up?

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The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Look out nursery school!

Today was Rebecca's first day of second grade and Gregory's first day of nursery school. Sorry to sound stereotypical, but Greg and I were like the quintessential parents dancing down the Staples' aisle to 'The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year'. By our calculations, we've been home alone in the house together once in the past seven years until today (Greg's on vacation this week). The two of us celebrated with a very nice lunch at the Sole Proprieter.

But enough about us. Both kids got out without a hitch. Gregory declared himself 'excited' for his first day of school, but wanted to know why he couldn't take the school bus. He wasn't sure what he was going to do when he got there, but he thought maybe it would include 'playing pirates'.

Mom, you're embarrassing me

Rebecca loves her new teacher who apparently is 'very useful because she knows how to turn on the fan'. I guess that is a useful skill when the first day of school turns out to be ninety-one degrees and high humidity. Rebecca also decided she wants to go to all the schools that I've been to so she can get 'three different colored hats'. Hey, if it motivates her to practice math problems, I'm all for it.

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Heifer Highlights

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Rebecca capped off a busy summer with her week at Heifer Camp. This day camp is held at Overlook Farm in Rutland and is run by Heifer International, an organization dedicated to fighting hunger and poverty.

Rebecca and Aboo pose together.

Despite a rainy start, this was Rebecca's favorite week of camp. Apparently the highlight of the week was milking a goat. Other strong points: gathering chicken eggs, feeding the llamas, and getting butted in the back by a particularly ornery goat (fortunately not the one she was milking).

The kids also spent time working in the gardens, exploring the international village, and hanging out with Aboo the camel. We are very fortunate to live ten minutes from this remarkable farm (the Heifer Project only has 5 locations in the U.S., including Overlook Farm. If you are in the area, check them out!

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Rebecca's Birthday at American Girl

Monday, July 26, 2010

Rebecca and Rebecca

Happy Birthday to my Rebecca who turned 7 on the 24th of July. This year we decided to skip the birthday party and take her somewhere she has been begging to go - the American Girl doll store.

We are lucky enough to live about half an hour from an American Girl store, so the day after Rebecca's birthday we headed to the Natick mall to check it out.

After spending an hour examining every doll in the store, Rebecca decided to go with the suitably named 'Rebecca' doll. Rebecca (the doll) has wavy brown hair and hazel eyes, just like my beautiful little Rebecca (the 7 year old), so we decided it was fate.

Once that was settled, it was time to pick out an outfit for Rebecca (the doll). Again Rebecca (the 7 year old) had to examine every outfit in the store before selecting a horseback riding ensemble for her new doll.

Lunch for 3

All this shopping made us hungry so we headed into the American Girl Bistro, where we had a reservation. They served us a nice three course meal and even put a little booster seat on the table for Rebecca (the doll).

All in all, a nice day. Here's a little equation I worked out. Warning: this is not for the faint of heart:


1 American Girl doll + 1 American Girl doll outfit + 1 pair of American Girl doll shoes + 2 lunches at the American Girl Bistro = more $$ than a pool party for an entire kindergarten class.

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Canobie Lake Park

Saturday, July 17, 2010

It's been a few decades since I went to Canobie Lake Park, but last Friday Mom and I braved the ninety degree weather and took the kiddies to Salem, NH for a day of amusement park fun. The drive was much shorter than I remembered - only about an hour counting a stop in Boxborough to pick up Grandma.

I'd heard it was a great spot for younger kids - less expensive and less crowded than some larger unnamed parks, coughSixFlagscough. While that was true, it was still a bit pricey ($72 for the 4 of us - 1 adult, 1 senior citizen, 1 child under 48 inches, and 1 child age 3 and under (free)). It was definitely less crowded, and there were lots of rides for those of our group who were under four feet.

After a quick spin on the oldest carousel in the country, we hit kiddie land, which is basically lots of rides with various shaped cars that all go around in a circle. But the kids loved it and went on all of them. Then Grandma made everyone go on the Boston Tea Party where we all got soaked.

Okay, actually, it was Gregory who wanted to try the Boston Tea Party, a short raft ride with a drop off at the end that produces a spectacular splash. I figured he would be too small but Grandma encouraged me to check, he wasn't. Although the line appeared long, she also pointed out that it was moving really fast so we gave it a go. Turned out it was both Grandma's and my favorite ride of the day.

Gregory's favorite ride was The Mine of Lost Souls (a boy after my own heart!). He spent most of the ride clinging to me and saying he was scared, but it's the only ride he has talked about since, and he talks a lot. Rebecca loved the kids sized dragon roller coaster, which she insisted on riding alone.

We ended the day at Castaway Island, the humongous water drenched jungle gym with the slowest water slides ever. It was crowded, but Rebecca loved it. Gregory was a little less pleased, he didn't enjoy randomly having buckets of water poured on him, but he found his place on the little kid's water slide, which he rode about twenty-five times.

It turned out to be a great day. The end result was two tired kids, a tired parent, a tired grandparent, and lots of fun.

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Educational Friday

Monday, June 28, 2010

This past Friday the kids and I participated in the first Boston Free Friday of the summer, free admission to the Boston Children's museum. Throughout the course of the day, we learned several things, both in and outside of the museum. Here's a chronological list:

  1. This deer eats leaves and probably is not long for this world.

    Rebecca spot this critter in the front yard about 40 mins. before we left for the museum. It proceeded to leisurely stroll around the house eating grass and leaves, completely unfazed by my kids who were running from window to window, jumping up and down, and talking excitedly (granted the windows were shut). As far as deer go, this one probably doesn't have the best sense of self preservation.

  2. When there is free admission to a children's museum, your best bet is to go to your local library and get passes to the closest museum you can find to the free one. This is because everyone in the state will be at the free museum, leaving all other nearby museums empty. We lasted an hour in the children's museum before hightailing it for a much more enjoyable walk around the waterfront.

  3. Kids love to watch seals. As part of our walk around the waterfront, we stopped at the Boston Aquarium to view the outdoor harbor seal tank. The kids stood against the Plexiglass for fifteen minutes and watched the 'seal ballet', as Rebecca called it.

  4. Okay, to anyone with good taste, I apologize in advance. Here's a sublist of what we learned in this next photo:
    1. It's harbor seal mating season.

    2. These seals are not 'hugging', as I initially announced to the kids when I foolishly pointed them out.

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Dave Rawlings Machine And Yet Another Drunk Guy

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Greg and I were treated to a spectacular night of music Saturday when we saw Dave Rawlings Machine at the Paradise Rock Club in Boston. Here's a sample of what we were so lucky to experience. It wasn't shot at the show we saw, but it's one of my favorites and we got to see them perform the same song.

Sorry I didn't get my own video but Greg and I were in the FRONT ROW and it felt really rude to pull out my camera and start video taping in plain view of the musicians. Why were we in the front row? Because Greg wanted to see Dave Rawlings' hands, which he did for the entire show. I just felt extremely lucky to see such a great show and to be close enough to those amazing musicians to see everything they were doing. We were about 6 feet from Gillian Welch (enough said - she's awesome!), 4 feet from Dave Rawlings, and 2 feet from Ketch Secor of Old Crow Medicine Show.

They put on an awesome show in what Gillian Welch dubbed 'a banjo lovin town'. Also, I got to go with my sis and brother in-law, who made the trip down from Maine. Thanks Mom and Dad for babysitting all 4 grandchildren so we could all go!

And there was another 'way to drunk guy at a concert' incident (click here for the first). Right before the show started, an intoxicated, stumbling man jumped up on stage and pretended to check the mikes (all 4 of them, hello, security?) before falling over backwards, taking out a table (not the one holding 4 fiddles, thank goodness), and bashing into Morgan Jahnig's beautiful upright bass. He lay on his back for a full minute, unable to get up, before security finally decided to do something and promptly escorted him out. Anyone else out there have a good 'drunk guy at a concert' story?

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How A Daisy Becomes A Brownie

Saturday, June 5, 2010

We've passed a milestone in Rebecca's life, she graduated from the Daisies and is now officially a Brownie. Here's a confession though, her ceremony was actually last Wednesday, May 26th. Things have been crazy around here - sorry I'm late getting it up. Enjoy her projection - I can't imagine where she gets that from.

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The Slippery Slide

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

We took advantage of the nice weather over the weekend to hold a cookout/sleepover with Uncle Jake, Aunt Kirsten, and the Cousins. The highlight for the kids came in the form of a Slip N Slide, or as the kids all called it, the Slippery Slide, that Rebecca got for her birthday last year. None of them had ever been on one before, so it was quite entertaining to watch. Here's some video:

And in case you're sitting up at night, wondering what a pair of 3 year olds would say when discussing their first Slip N Slide experience, you'll be happy to know you'll be able to sleep like a baby from now on. Here's Gregory and Ella doing just that:

I know it's hard to top that, so I'll just leave you with some action shots:

Now if only we could figure out a way to rig a few of those babies together!

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Monday, May 24, 2010

Here's the promised post of my second Pearl Jam video from 5/17. It took some wrangling with YouTube to get it up, but I can finally claim victory.

Eddie dedicated this song to his good friend, BU history professor Howard Zinn, who passed away in January.

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On Pearl Jam, Pregnant Women, And Falling Drunk Guys

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Greg and I had the pleasure of seeing Pearl Jam Monday night at the new Boston Garden (so much better sounding than the TD Banknorth Garden). As usual, Eddie Vedder put on an awesome show where he managed to interact with a crowd of nearly 20,000.

On our way in, I was psyched to see not 1, but 2 pregnant women. I have a special spot in my heart for pregnant women at Pearl Jam concerts. This is because 4 years ago, the last time I saw Pearl Jam I was 6 months pregnant with Gregory. It explains a lot.

But seriously, 4 years ago when we ordered the tickets I thought 'hey, I'll only be 6 months, I won't be that big'. And I was right. I wasn't that big, I was humongous. For that show we had awesome seats. Behind the stage, but only a few rows out. Since there is no back to the stage, they were the best seats I've ever had at the Garden. And here's the best part. Close to the end of the show they did a cover of Neil Young's 'Rockin' In The Free World'. If you've ever seen Pearl Jam, you know Eddie sings to all sides of the stage. Well, when he came to the line

I see a woman in the night
With a baby in her hand
Under an old street light
Near a garbage can
Now she puts the kid away, and she's gone to get a hit
She hates her life, and what she's done to it
There's one more kid that will never go to school
Never get to fall in love, never get to be cool.

He ran to the back of the stage and looked right at me. I was elbowing Greg, going "Honey, Eddie Vedder's singing to me!". Greg disagreed, and we've never reached a harmonious opinion on this event. So Eddie, if you're reading, can you please either confirm or deny that 4 years ago at the Boston Garden, you sang this verse to a hugely pregnant woman behind the stage? Leaving a comment would be fine. Thanks.

So back to Monday night. According to Conor Oberst, victory is sweet even deep in the cheap seats, and I agree with him. But here's something else that's sweet deep in the cheap seats, videotaping a huge stadium of people rocking out to Pearl Jam. Here's the best one I got (at least unless YouTube has shut me down due to copyright infringement). It's one of my favorite Pearl Jam songs and it's worth watching the whole thing so you can see 20,000 euphoric, singing, dancing people, even if you don't like the song.

He opened with another great song, 'Release'. I started to get some awesome video of that as well, but I was interrupted. By what? I'm glad you asked. I was interrupted by an extremely intoxicated three hundred pound guy who came rolling down the seats from somewhere above about 10 seconds into the song. He nicked Greg (luckily Greg managed to stay on his feet) and then landed on a poor girl in the row in front of us. He was a big pile of legs and feet, with the girl was pinned underneath. It took everyone about two minutes to get him off of her and this included me, who turned the camera off to help. The poor girl seemed okay, although her leg was bruised and sore. The large, intoxicated guy stood there for about two minutes and then insisted on climbing into our row, where he took up two empty seats.

Well, that was fine, until the owners of those seats showed up to claim them. In a row wide effort to remove him, he started shoving, and someone freaked out and a fist fight ensued. Finally, the brave soul next to us grabbed him by the back of the shoulders and briskly escorted him out of the row with a curse and an order to never come back. Yay!

After that drama, we settled in to watch an excellent show including a lesser played song in tribute to Howard Zinn.

Okay, that one's not uploading so well, I'll put it in another post.

Again, if you've ever seen Pearl Jam live, you know it's not a question of whether Eddie Vedder falls, but when. Despite a good effort, he managed to stay on his feet for the whole show. He did consume his token bottle of wine and by the end of the show he was jumping onto speakers, shirt hanging off. All in all a great show by a very cool band whose appreciation of their fans is evident in the quality of their performance.

We have several more shows booked for what I'm calling our mid-life crisis series, so stay tuned!

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Team Corbin Goes To A Luau

Friday, May 14, 2010

Tonight was the annual Spring luau at Rebecca's elementary school. It's a night rife with with plastic leis, junk food, and dancing in a hot gym. I'd planned on getting lots of action shots and fun video to post, but it wasn't meant to be. Why you ask? Because after eating pizza, a red push pop and two cups of apple juice, Gregory did some wild dancing in a very hot gym and proceeded to throw up everywhere.

That ended our night early. Now I'm off to the living room to watch the Bruins, play cribbage, and drink heavily. Cheers!

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Happy Mother's Day

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day to all the ladies out there! Sorry I haven't posted this month - I've been sidetracked on a project. We haven't had too much going on here, but here's a summary:

Biking on the Rail Trail

Gregory took his first bike ride on his 'bumblebee bike'. We discovered that he moves at 1 of 2 speeds; fast forward or carry me. He did manage to get his little legs pumping like crazy and moved out at a good clip that had me jogging next to him (he still can't steer so well). Rebecca is quite the expert on her bike now, and is almost ready to shake the training wheels.

Yes, he did eat that entire pile of wings

We've discovered that both kids have inherited their father's love for chicken wings. Greg is cooking up a bunch of 'little chickens', as Gregory calls them, tonight, and everyone is excited except for me, the vegetarian.

Thank you to Cousin Karen for bringing us to the Blue Bunny Bookstore in Dedham square yesterday. The kids and I had a great time! I'm glad you and Rebecca are now buds and hopefully Gregory didn't terrorize you too much! ;-)

Rebecca has become a great reader in the past year, and loves the 'Little House' books. Greg and I have some good shows coming up including Probable Cause, Pearl Jam, and Dave Rawlings Machine. Plus I'm looking for someone to go to She & Him at the Boston House of Blues in July. Let me know if anyone wants to go!

Hope everyone is well and I plan to start posting here on a weekly basis again so please checking. :-) Peace!

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Something Happened!!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

April has been a slowww month for us around here. So I'm happy to report that I now have something to report. Rebecca lost her second tooth tonight!

Okay, I know second tooth is not as exciting as first tooth, but did I mention it's been a slow month? And all the drama that was present with tooth #1 was relived with tooth #2. After tears, shaking, pleading, and one good pull from Mom, she was able to pull it out herself. Now hopefully the adult tooth that was growing in behind it will move forward and save us some $$ in orthodontist bills.

Here's a picture of newly toothless Rebecca with little brother Gregory who is having a sympathy lost tooth. And yes, that is what your living room looks like when you spend all your time pulling out your hysterical kid's tooth instead of cleaning.

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An Easter Evening With Wilco At Lupo's Heartbreak Hotel, Providence, RI

Monday, April 5, 2010

Jeff Tweedy may hate Easter, but he put on one hell of a show last night at Lupo's Heartbreak Hotel in Providence, Rhode Island. I have to say, this was the best Wilco show I've ever seen. Three plus hours of Wilco including pure Wilco merriment including an accoustic set and without so much as a bathroom break.

Here's the ample setlist, way to overwhelming for me to remember everything, but luckily someone got a picture of it. This was my first time at Lupo's, which turned out to be a super cool venue. The surroundings were comfortable and provided a good environment for the band to interact with the crowd.

It was a request show where fans could go to the Wilco website ahead of time to request songs. They even gave away 2 gift certificates for local restaurants to two lucky fans who used the online request system. Sadly, there was no video or photography whatsoever allowed so I have nothing to post in that department. Instead, here's a previous video of the band performing 'Not For The Season', which they also played last night, and was the song that Greg requested. (I know they played it for you, honey!)

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Who's Afraid Of A Six Foot Rabbit?

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Well, it's the scariest time of the year once again. No, I'm not talking about Halloween, I'm talking about the yearly visit to the Easter Bunny.

Gregory is especially taken with the bunny, and I try not to let my prejudice over the grinning, six foot rabbit color his experience.

For some inexplicable reason, I decided to subject myself to not one egg hunt, but two of them. Saturday we went to the Sterling Academy of Gymnastics Dragon Easter Egg Hunt. SAG, in their ultimate wisdom and kindness, have replaced the bunny with a less scary gigantic dragon. Much better! It was a nice event with the egg hunt, followed by jumping in the huge dragon bouncy house, face painting, and cookie decorating.

Not one to let myself off easy, I decided I had to let Gregory get his picture taken with the bunny. The Paxton library held an egg hunt this afternoon, complete with lurid leporidae. I did manage to allow my children to sit on its lap, and even get a picture.

To show you how hard this was, here's a side by side comparison of reality with what I saw in my mind.

So who's up for watching Donnie Darko next Saturday night? That's right, not me!

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Thursday, March 25, 2010

Welcome to my world.

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Father Daughter Dance

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Rebecca and Greg went to their first Father-Daughter dance tonight, hosted by the Girl Scouts. Rebecca wore a new dress, and said her favorite move was the 'slide' (Greg swinging her above his head).

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Authentic St. Patrick's Day

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Happy Saint Patrick's Day! Today they held the St. Paddy's day parade in Worcester so we bundled up the kids and headed down to Mrs. Lavigne's house for her annual pre/post parade party.

After grazing at the breakfast spread, we headed out for the quick walk to Park Street to catch the festivities. Suffice it to say, it was a bit different than last year, and by different I mean it was 30 degrees colder and pouring rain. After spending a week in Ireland last year, I felt that the rain made the whole experience a little more authentic, but somehow that didn't seem to be much compensation. But the kids and parents were troopers and we managed to last through the bagpipers before trekking back up the hill.

Thanks to Mrs. Lavigne who had an incredible traditional corned beef and cabbage dinner ready for us back at the house.

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Family Pancake Day

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Had a great time at Parker's Barn in Brookline, NH, today with the kids, Greg's girls, and Mommy D. It was packed when we got there and there was an hour and fifteen minute wait. Not to be deterred from our mission of eating pancakes, we hit the gift shop where we looked at lots of cool stuff, bought some maple syrup, and I tried to bribe Gregory into behaving with some maple candy (it didn't work) shaped like a moose head (he picked it).

After, we headed up to the sugar shack to see the process of making maple syrup, but got called back just after the tour started. Good thing too, there was an adorable little boy up there who could actually out talk Rebecca, and the 2 of them were giving the guide a run for his money. Rebecca and I ate delicious pancakes. Gregory decided to be the sausage king of Brookline, NH and ate 4 sausages, Chelsea's kielbasa, and about 2 bites of his pancake.

After eating, we headed outside where I got some rare pictures of all 5 of our babies together.

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Gregory Plans To Join The Cirque-us

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Grandma, Rebecca and Gregory,
ready for Cirque Dreams

On Friday night Grandma and I took the kids to the Hanover Theater in Worcester to see Cirque Dreams: Illumination (warning - you may want to mute your computer before following that last link!). Not only did we enjoy a rare chance to get dressed up, expose the kids to some culture, and see graduates of the Mongolian School of Contortion in action, we also discovered Gregory's life's calling (as if we didn't already know!).

In case you missed some of our earlier videos, here's a roundup.

A year ago:

6 months ago:

And just a few weeks ago:

So really, I wasn't surprised when watching this act:

he turned to me and said "Mom, I want to do that!".

He then proceeded to fall asleep during intermission and miss the entire 2nd half of the show, but I'm sure he was dreaming about hanging upside down while spinning 30 feet over a stage.

Rebecca's reaction? During the same act, she turned to Grandma and declared, "Now that's what I call entertainment!".

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Happy Pig Appreciation Day

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Notice the 'pig-tails'. Clever, no?

Rebecca came downstairs this morning with a huge smile on her face, "Mom, you have no idea what I dreamed about last night".

"Well, tell me", I urged as she danced into my bathroom.

From inside the bathroom she shouted, "I had a dream about pigs. A bunch of pigs. And they all had different tattoos!".

Um, tattooed pigs? OK. I didn't have a response for that. Judging by the smile on her face, I assumed they were nice, tattooed pigs.

The toilet flushed and she emerged from the bathroom and proclaimed, "I decided today is Pig Appreciation Day".

I motioned for her to come sit next to me. "How do you celebrate Pig Appreciation Day?". I admit it, I was curious.

"You um, um, appreciate pigs". She gets her quick wit from me. "You know, be nice to any pigs you see."

Knowing she was spending this day of February vacation at gymnastics camp, I figured her chances of meeting any pigs were slim to none, emphasis on none. I tried to think of something else.

"Why don't we think about pigs we've read about in stories?", I suggested. "Can you think of any?".

"Wilbur!", she immediately chimed in.

"Good one". Damn, that was what I was going to say. I racked my brain. "How about Babe?". Technically from a movie, not a book, but it was 6:30 AM.

"Who's Babe?", she asked. What does she mean who's Babe? She's only watched that movie about a hundred times. It's been a while, but still.

"You know, Babe. From the movie". My brilliant response.

"You mean the pig who thinks he's a sheep dog?". I knew she remembered.

"Yes". There was only one other I could think of. "Or how about the hog that jumped on Grandpa's lap when he was a boy sledding down the hill on Sunday?". Fortunately, we just read this chapter of 'Little House in the Big Woods' last night.
That was the extent of the list we could come up with. If I'd had my coffee, I probably could have thought of something a little more obscure, such as 'The Three Little Pigs'. Oh well.

I got her ready for gymnastics, putting her hair in pig tails in honor of her newly invented holiday. She's signed up to have the gym lunch. I don't know what she'll get, I only hope it's not, er, ham and cheese? I can only imagine. Some how I don't think the gym has heard of Pig Appreciation Day.

Can anyone else name some famous pigs from children's stories?

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Rebecca's Winter Concert

Monday, February 15, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day! Rebecca's school put on a Winter Concert this week. The theme was 'Earth Songs' which I was thrilled with. I hit the 10 AM show with Gregory and the video camera (Greg couldn't get out of work, so my mission was to capture the whole thing). Here's the video of the first song (Rebecca is in the white and green striped sweater).

She did beautifully! Unfortunately, early into the 2nd song, Gregory decided to start yelling, which meant I had to throw down the video camera and cover his mouth. She sang so beautifully - I was broken-hearted I didn't get the 2nd song for Greg. So I snuck back in for the 2 PM show. Looking back, I guess 2 PM on the Friday before vacation is probably not the best time for Rebecca to be in a concert.

She struggled a lot more with standing still in the afternoon show, but I swear at 10 AM she was great. Oh well, some days you just can't win, but I was still proud of her. Afterwards, I took them both to swimming lessons. Rebecca was 'sit diving' and swimming totally underwater and Gregory is swimming on his own too. The lessons are really paying off!

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Corbin Sledding Party

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

We decided to take advantage of our backyard hill with a sledding party for all the cousins on Sunday. The freezing cold temperatures dictated a little less sledding and a little more consumption of hot mulled cider (among other things!). Here's some video of the big event.

The sledding was followed up by an intense indoor dancing session:

And yes, that is my handsome husband dancing in his Ireland rugby team shirt and hat. Eat your hearts out ladies! Rebecca said her favorite part of the day was when she "turned into a fairy" and Gregory's was when he "got to be a big chicken!".

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Thank Goodness For The Tooth Fairy

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Rebecca, after tooth pulled,
before Tooth Fairy Reminder

Rebecca lost her first tooth last night. I mean, it was the first tooth she ever lost, but it was also the first tooth to come in when she was a baby. As far as baby teeth go, hers were a bit late to poke through. I remember when she was 13 months, sticking my finger in her mouth and feeling the sharp little point as that first tiny tooth painfully burst through her sore, irritated gums.

I felt a mix of emotions. Excitement that she had finally reached this milestone. Nostalgia that her cute little gum smile would never look the same. Amazement at how quickly the time was rushing by. Relief that I had stopped breast feeding just a week earlier (talk about good timing!). In the following months, the rest of her tiny baby teeth rapidly popped through. That one little tooth, the right of her 2 lower front teeth, seemed to have opened a dental floodgate.

Now it's gone from her mouth forever. Somehow over 5 years have passed since that late summer day of discovery. Her adult tooth has already pushed through, coming up behind the baby tooth, indicating the need for numerous wiggling sessions to loosen up the baby tooth and avoid expensive orthodontic bills. That adult tooth looks way too big for her mouth, so much bigger than the rest of the her baby teeth. I can't believe it's supposed to be there.

This has also been a nostalgic milestone, although it was a bit overshadowed by Rebecca's reaction. The tooth was so loose, it was causing her pain and she didn't want anyone to touch it. As soon as an adult hand came within 3 inches of her mouth, she would start crying and screaming, the anticipation too much for her. Greg and I finally convinced her to let us tug on it, and she tearfully opened her mouth. One quick tug, one small trickle of blood, and there it was.

She cried while we held a washcloth to her mouth, until I asked a question, "so, what does this mean? Who's coming tonight?". All at once the tears dried up and a newly landscaped smile formed. "The tooth fairy!" she shouted.

Finally she gets to use the tooth pillow

From then on it was all excitement. She showed the tooth to her brother, who seemed a bit wary of it, to say the least. She called Grandma and Grandpa. At bedtime she carefully placed it in her long waiting tooth pillow (bought at a craft fair over a year ago), and stuffed it under her big pillow.

Lo and behold, this morning the tooth was gone, a crisp $1 bill in its place. I asked her if she saw the tooth fairy last night, and she said yes. Apparently the tooth fairy was 'wearing a sparkly pink dress, with ruby red rings, red hair, and a tooth wand'. Go figure.

Amid all this drama, I still have to wonder at the speed with which my baby is growing. If this tooth opens the floodgate again, she will soon have a mouth full of adult teeth. And I will still be sitting here, scratching my head and wondering where did all the time go?

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Buddha Belly = Built-In Floatie?

Friday, January 22, 2010

New England Winter Swimming Lesson Style

Today was week 2 of winter swimming lessons. Gregory continues to amaze all the Moms with his level of comfort in the water. The other kids make an effort to keep from getting their faces wet, but Gregory makes an effort to keep his face from getting dry. He spends as much time as possible with his entire body, including his head, submerged, and just one hand sticking out, holding on to the side of the pool. I think he has an unfair advantage - his little Buddha resembles a built in floatie - maybe it acts as a buoy?

The Floating Buddha

Tired, happy kids

Rebecca and I swam for the first half of Gregory's lesson - apparently as part of the lesson the parent can take the kids in the free swim part of the pool. She's doing great - swimming further than she was this summer, and even trying to swim with her face in the water. She gets some good speed going that way although I keep telling her she'd go faster if she'd let go of her nose. She made it through her entire lesson without any floatie, while Gregory and I swam. I actually did most of the swimming while he held onto my bathing suit straps yelling 'Hi everyone, I'm riding a dolphin!'. Hey, it could have been worse, at least he didn't think he was riding a whale!

I'll leave you with a video of the Gregory's class high fiving their teacher while jumping in the pool. Can you guess which one he is (hint: look for a certain feature in the midriff region)? Big sister Rebecca (wrapped in a pink and white striped towel) watches from the side.

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Weekend Roundup: Swimming, Snow, and Line Dancing (Really)

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Future Bloggers?

Don't you just love weekends that follow this simple formula: busy Saturday, quiet Sunday? We've just had such a weekend here at casa Corbin. The fun actually started Friday night when the kids had their first swimming lesson at the Y (I forgot my camera - still kicking myself). This was Gregory's first swimming lesson ever and I was amazed by how well he listened and followed his adorable teacher's instructions. He is really comfortable in the water and had no problem doing everything she asked (while she was encouraging the kids to dunk their chins, he was submerging his whole head - I was so proud!). I promise to bring my camera next week and get some photos/video.

Saturday morning, we were at the library when it opened (translation: the kids were going stir crazy in the house). The temps reached the mid 40s, so when we got home I decked them out in full snow gear and sent them outside. They sledded, tracked bears, and made snow angels for a full hour and a half.

My parents arrived to watch the boy, while Rebecca and I set off for Mother/Daughter line dancing night at The Dance Ranch in Worcester. Country music is definitely not my thing, but this was a Girl Scout event in which Rebecca's Daisy troop was participating, so I decided to take one for the team. After a feeble attempt to teach her the Macarana, Rebecca refused to dance with me, and played tag on the dance floor with her friends. Here's a video of her dancing (at least she has the bow down!).

Today we spent reading, playing on the computer, playing outside, watching the 2nd half of the Blues Brothers (which ended, as usual, with a massive dance off between me and Gregory, followed by a towel snapping war between the boy and his father). The little monsters are growing up so fast - Rebecca is reading up a storm, and Gregory has discovered that 4 letter word that is a favorite of preschoolers everywhere (you know, it starts and ends with 'P', and has 2 'O's in the middle). Between that, and his newly developed talent for running around, shaking his hips, and declaring 'Look at my bumbum' (thankfully, usually with pants on), things have been pretty interesting around here.

That was our weekend, what did everyone else do?

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Where's Noelle??

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Not much going on this week. I'm taking advantage of the cold weather to stay indoors and get my professional blog started. Here's what I have so far: - stop by and let me know what you think! I'm planning to get the kids out of the house this weekend so I should have some interesting posts coming up. It's supposed to get into the low 40s on Friday! Good times!

Here's the latest picture of my little wild man to tide ya' over:

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About Me

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Just in case you've never met me, (and in response to MomDot's Introduce Yourself Day) here's some stuff you might like to know. My name is Noelle, I'm in my late 30s, married to Greg (9 years!), with 2 little ones: Rebecca(6) and Gregory(3). I have 3 beautiful stepdaughters (18, 16 and 14). We live in central Massachusetts, where I've lived my entire life.

I graduated from UMass, Amherst in 1994 with a BA in Sociology, and minors in Psychology and Economics, but somehow I ended up working in computers as a web developer. In 2003 I received an MS in Computer Science from Boston University. I've worked as a programmer for the past 14 years, mostly on web-based applications. In that time, I've held a plethora of titles (Programmer, Web Developer, Software Engineer, Technical Business Analyst, Internet Software Architect) but they pretty much all mean programmer, mostly web-based. I started this blog 2.5 years ago because I found I really suck at scrap booking and keeping a journal. It's not commercial. This year I started another blog, The Naturalista about my family's attempt to live naturally, reduce our exposure to toxic chemicals, and enjoy the great outdoors. I might try limited ads there, but haven't done too much on the commercial front. Since I've enjoyed creating my first 2 blogs so much, i'm thinking of starting a technical blog - a mix of programming and technical tips for social media, web pages, etc.

Enough with the official details though, here's some other random facts about me:

  • I was born on Christmas Day. That's where I get my name, Noelle. I guess I just wasn't destined to be Debra (what my parents were going to name me before I was born on Christmas and they decided they had to do something special).

  • I laugh when people fall. I can't help it. I've always done this even though I try really hard not to. I do stop though if they hurt themselves.

  • I'm hopelessly addicted to sugar. If I could just skip the meal and only eat dessert, my world would be right.

  • I enjoy making things (crafts), but have no talent for it. I keep torturing my family by giving them 'homemade gifts'.

  • I can't cook, but I'm a decent baker. Fortunately I am married to a man who is a fabulous cook.

  • I've had a huge crush on Johnny Depp for 20 years.

  • I love traveling. Anywhere. I've been to Europe 3 times in the past 5 years and keep trying to figure out a way to go back. I even love airports. That's right, I said it. I get all excited when driving to the airport, even if I'm just dropping someone off.

  • My favorite color is yellow. This is because when I was a little kid, I had a yellow baby blanket that I carried everywhere. I still have Yellow Blankie - it's folded up on the top shelf of my linen closet. Every once in a while I let my kids play with it.

  • I've worked in at least 9 different programming languages.

  • Here's what I look like right now:

  • I have 285 movies on my Netflix list. I only watched 37 movies from Netflix in 2009.

  • I love dark, scary and/or fantasy themed movies.

  • I try to hide it, but I'm a total dork!

That's me in a nutshell. Nice to meet you!

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Skating Stars

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Gregory practices with a chair

The kids took advantage of the wintry weather Saturday to try out their new skates. A local resident constructs and maintains a little rink in the center of town every year, so that's where I headed with my first timers. We lasted just over an hour before I got cold and packed everyone back into the car. Kind of humbling to be outlasted by a 6 and 3 year old. The kids loved it, didn't want to leave, and Rebecca keeps asking us to take her back. Next time I'm bringing hot chocolate (for me)!

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