Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Endorphin Booster

Don't underestimate the power of swinging. It has been known to relieve tantrums, split knees, and tangle hair. It must be good for you.

I'm bringing swinging back. For adults. It's like swimming and sleeping - you never regret it.


Yes, I believe Americans over-use quotation marks. But these are not haphazard quotation marks - I very much mean to imply: the so-called vacation.

Two kids and time away from home is fun. But it is also absurdly exhausting.

Best to focus on the fun part, which was traveling to Portsmouth, NH and then to Eliot and Kittery, Maine, where we got to visit wonderful friends and see the ocean, which always does this Carolina girl good.

Highlights: BYOB lobster joints. Cool beaches. Rocks. Ships. Sandy diapers. Bouncy house. Rainbow face paint. Old homes. Wooden boats. Getting lost on a run. Meeting bad ass booksellers. Breakfast place with 60s camp decor and homemade granola.

Portsmouth is charming with just enough bustle. Maine is elegantly austere and haunted. We will return.

Ring my Bell

Savage houselion does not like bell collar!

Birds and chipmunks rejoice.

Mountains of Laundry

...are real. Zephyr sits in her Bumbo, bewildered as Mama unloads the dryer onto the kitchen table.

This is how you take care of business!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

4 Months

Zephyr turned 4 months this week, which means shots and squeals.

Here, watch gravity have its way with her.

Have you ever tried to eat your own arm?

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


A new walking strategy - I wear Bebe Z in the Bjorn and push Fray in the stroller. We bird watch. Fray uses her "noculars" - the world looks mighty exciting through those, especially when you put the wrong end to your eyes.

(Her shoes are often on the wrong feet as well - "to confuse predators" OPA says, giving Fray the benefit of the doubt.)

We usually head down River Road in Arlington - where we mostly see crows, jays, goldfinches, and the occasional pileated woodpecker or heron.

Fray, never one to shy from exaggeration, is constantly seeing hawks and owls. Mhmm.

Houselion Hideout

Cats love being mysterious. Ours fight over this nook in the overgrown front garden.

Monday, September 19, 2011

The Last Lake Trip of 2011

Who thinks of loading up the boat and taking the kids to the lake on a crisp, 30-something degree morning? We do.

The 30-something degree morning turned into a beautiful day - radiant sky, warm sun. We took the boat to our favorite island in Lake George - Floating Battery - had lunch and...swam. Or the Dogtor did. I turned blue watching him. Frasier, apparently, turned feral. (see photo).

I got some boat driving and baby cuddling in. When we came to shore, a fishing tournament was about to conclude, and a giant trailer was blasting country music. Fray and I boogied in the grass while the Dogtor re-attached the boat to the truck. The ride home was charming - tantrums, naps, me wedged between two car seats.

Highlight - loon sighting on the way into the harbor. Score! (Fray pronunciation: yoons.)

Saturday, September 17, 2011

An Aging Farm

Sigh. The animals are getting older.

Whispy came to the Dogtor's family as a rescue horse. She was already old and slightly arthritic, not a horse for riding. So into the pasture she went, gentle and undemanding.

She is now over thirty and pushing the conventional lifespan of a horse.

I did not grow up around horses, and at first I used to get an adrenaline rush being alone in the stall with her. In the first winters of my time in Vermont, I would fumble with gloved fingers to switch the water bucket (as they freeze easily here). She would hover over me, probably just for the company, but at first I found her looming size intimidating, as if she was saying, come on, small non-horse person, get on with it.

The other morning, the Dogtor came in from "doing the barn" to report that Whispy was on the ground, and though he tried to get her up, he couldn't. He suggested I say my goodbyes. I went out with a handful of carrots. As I walked across the yard - the first true fall morning - I started to cry. And then I saw her walking across the pasture - somehow she had willed herself up. She was bleeding and had a cut on her nose and hind quarters, but was up and eating. She inhaled the carrots.

Later that afternoon I brought her some soft pears that had fallen from our tree. Now, more practiced in communing with horses, I leave my hand at her mouth so that she can take the pear in two bites.

Though she is up and walking, she doesn't look long for this world. It is apple season, and I will visit her often this week, shielding her from the ever-hungry goats (whom she loves), so she can eat her share.

A Stretch

"Mom - this is my yoga. I did it!"

(Glad I am an inspiration for flawless form.)

Monday, September 12, 2011

Fall Fruits

The fall raspberry crop is about to go wild, and the Macintosh apples are falling off the trees - time to pick!

Fray is all about eating the pears and apples she finds on the ground. We have had a few lectures lately on ants and yellow jackets - no lesson learned like a mouthful of those.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

The Family That Hikes Together

We have an hour and a half before sundown, or pre-dinner toddler melt down. But we all need walks - after a week of rain and cold weather on the horizon, the sun must be worshiped.

The buckle breaks on the big backpack - the Dogtor wraps it with duct tape (go-to cure all for Bergmans). Fray, already stuffed into the pack, is urging: I WANT TO GO NOW. (x100).

We set off across the highway and into the fields. Zephyr is drooling so much that I can't tell the difference between cold mud splattering my legs and her spit-up; I come home covered in both anyway. The Dogtor and I slosh through mud and standing water up the mountain trails, pausing to show Frasier mushrooms, toads, and ferns.

Frasier is determined that we should "GO UP THE MOUNTAIN. TO THE TOP." When we just do a short loop, she becomes enraged. Luckily, the backpack designers anticipated in-pack tantrums and created good straps.

Hiking with babies should be an Olympic sport.

All in good fun,

CSI, VT Mud Edition

What happened here?

Big raccoon print, single fox (?) print in the middle, small raccoon print to the side? Game of hopscotch?

(I know, I know, different times. But there's no narrative fun in that.)

He Charms All

Le Dogteur, coming home after a day of surgery at the clinic. He is magnetic - a big draw for chickens, dogs, cats, and adoring baby girls. Oh. Wife, too!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Vermont, Drowning

...and the rain continues. Vermont is dangerously drenched, yet again.

The outlook for VT's fall season is dismal. Damaged roads, inns, and bridges = a potentially bad leaf peeping season. (According to state officials, VT is determined to get roads open for Fall Foliage.) Want to do something kind? Plan a trip to VT. Or, like this plucky, saintly upstart on Main Street in Bennington, start a lemonade stand to help others. (Isn't she the sweetest?!)

Still, morale here is high, mostly because we've been lucky to avoid major damage - just a few leaky skylights and a wet basement. The sunflowers are enormous this year, and with the weight of the water and their giant heads, unable to support themselves - they look like shower fixtures.