October 31, 2006
October 30, 2006
Torturing, I mean dressing up, Toddy
Some people in the Almeida family might not know what costume they are wearing tonight , but they sure do know what others should be.
Take Toddy for instance. He's supposed to be the flying pumpkin. And boy was that an appropriate costume since he pretty much flew down the stairs as soon as we snapped a picture of him in his costume.
I have a lot of appreciation for the pet owners who can get their pets dressed up. It took three of us to work with Toddy to snap a single picture.
L.'s favorite doll was a little easier to dress. I might have to take her out tonight since L. still hasn't decided on a costume.
October 27, 2006
Every year deciding on a Halloween costume is painful at our house. Usually L. can not make a decision about one - and stick with it - for more than a day or so. One year she wore three different costumes, one to each party she went to and one for Halloween night, simply because it was too hard for her to pick a single one.
Of course I am not one to criticize my child's decision-making skills. I still have an LL Bean gift card from last Christmas that I have yet to redeem because I can't decide what to buy with it.
Compared to L. though, I look decisive.
At the beginning of October she decided she was going to be, "Anne of Green Gables." A little tricky since it's not something people would necessarily recognize, even with the orange yarn wig and book she planned to carry to explain the costume.
And I admit that I shared a few giggles with friends over her choice but was pleased she had made her decision early and seemed to be sticking with it. But then yesterday at dinner she announced "Anne" wasn't a good costume and she needed another one.
Halloween has always been one of my favorite holidays but I'm re-thinking things now. My progeny is making me crazy. Of course we could skip Trick-or-Treating but then I wouldn't have any fun or get any candy either.
October 23, 2006
Idle hands in October
This is what an 8-year-old does when her sister is in class and she has some time on her hands during the month of October.
Meet the pumpkins starting clockwise from bottom left: Poodle, Mummy, Vampire, "Save" (reserved for her sister to decorate), Chiquita Banana Girl, Ghost, The Lady (love the Life cereal eyes).
Did you decorate/carve a pumpkin this year?
Post your own pumpkin pics
October 22, 2006
Swedish fish meets the Pirates
The kids and I went to the Pirates game yesterday with grandpa and L. now believes that he's a good luck charm this season (i.e., at the 2 games we've been to so far with grandpa this season, the team has won). L. has entered this new season with another round of her own special logic.
But in usual form, the girls were being silly while watching the game. This time with a couple of stray Swedish fish in my backpack. Since meeting someone recently who had never had the penny candy (which is far from costing a penny these days), the girls have been talking about how much they love Swedish fish. And that prompted them to "introduce" their fish friends to a hockey game like they did with Bunny and Flat Stanley last season.
Yup, the fish did a little of everything with us at the game.
And I think Neil Diamond's, "Sweet Caroline" song is starting to grow on us. The girls found that dancing can make the song a little move lively.
The funky fish dance
BTW, catching one of the t-shirts thrown to the fans at the game was a great birthday present. Thanks Salty Pete!
October 20, 2006
A limping, but fast-moving, Lucy
Yesterday L. tried to catch Lucky Lucy to see how her leg was doing. And as we quickly discovered, the slightly crooked leg (well, she was the first chicken leg cast Fino had ever done) is not a problem anymore. It took L. a few rounds of Walk Around the Coop before she finally caught her.
Lucy's evasive manuevers
I think Lucy's leg is doing just fine.
October 17, 2006
Bugs, beetles and Bunny Foo Foo
We spend a fair amount of time in the car driving to various kid-related activities on a weekly basis. We listen to audio books frequently but lately the Punch Buggy game and some old songs keep our car an interesting place to be.
My kids and their friends have a new variation on the Punch Buggy game with not only VW Bugs, but PT Cruisers. They punch someone when they see a VW and give a pinch when a PT Cruiser (dubbed a Beetle Bug) drives by. Sometimes the kids decide not to punch or pinch someone and instead call out a "save." With the various carpools we have with other families, the kids do quite a bit of chatting about how many saves everyone has, which is much better than punching and pinching all the time. There are a lot of VWs and PT Cruisers on the road these days.
And I'm not immune to the game I enjoyed playing as a kid. This morning I spotted a PT Cruiser on my commute to work this morning and actually thought about calling out a "save."
To add to the car entertainment, the kids have learned some of those classic, silly songs I haven't heard, let along sung, in years like Little Bunny Foo Foo and Baby Bumble Bee. These songs definitely get stuck in my head - just like they did when I was a kid - and now I'm wondering if the 100th round of their favorite CD isn't all that bad.
Do your kids have a game they like to play in the car?
October 12, 2006
Fun fall hike
We hiked to the summit of Sawyer Mountain over the weekend and I am happy to say, there weren't any bees roaming about on the trail. It was about 1.5 miles to the summit with a steady climb. I'd rate the hike 'Intermediate' for kids who have some endurance for the elevation gain (about 500 feet).
G. is "practicing" her ballet leaps anywhere with open space including the grocery stores and parking lots these days.
I should have known when everyone was grabbing for tissues and taking naps at the summit that we were in for a week of bad colds (I'm sniffling and listening to L.'s non-stop coughing as I write...)
The foliage is really beautiful around the summit right now.
We decided to try some crayon leaf-rubbing on the trail after reading about it in a magazine recently. Crayon-rubbing wasn't as easy as it looked in the magazine but after a few tries, the kids made a fun work of art.
L., while collecting leaves in her hat, also got a little carried away with crayon-rubbing. She decided to make impressions of the writing on some gravestones in the 19th century cemetery we passed on the trail because she spotted a misspelling.
She was highly amused with this one even though I told her it was likely a space issue rather than an actual error.
October 11, 2006
Hey diddle diddle is that an orange eraser?
A little nursery rhyme based on an accident yesterday at the Wildlife Park.
Hey Diddle Diddle
The peacock and eraser-iddle
The accident mom couldn't stop
The little girls gasped to see such a sight
And the chipmunk ran away with the top!
The girls felt awful about the accident but it all turned out OK in the end (and the rangers were very understanding once they stopped laughing).
October 09, 2006
Fall hiking - wear orange
We heard a lot of gunshots when we were hiking the other day and the
kids don't like that much, even while wearing their bright orange hats.
Since I am not familiar with the world of hunting, I went looking on
the IFW website to see when hunting season was and learned some interesting stuff.
The first thing was that there is no CLOSED season for hunting coyote, woodchuck, porcupine and red squirrel. So basically there could be a hunter with a gun in the woods, legally, at any time of year.
I narrowed down my search dates to when hunters will be out in the woods
with guns to hunt deer and grouse/pheasant because all are in abundance in the areas where we like to hike. And since 67,725 deer hunting
permits were issued this year, that's the season we think we'll hear the most shots fired while in the woods.
October 2 - December 31 - Grouse, pheasant and bobwhite quail
October 30 - November 25 - Deer with firearms
November 27 - December 9 - Deer with muzzleloaders
So basically from now until the end of December everyone should be
especially careful while hiking and wear their orange gear.
October 08, 2006
Name that leaf
We went for a quick hike this weekend to Sawyer Mountain and have plans to go back again when we have more time (more than an hour before dusk). On the next trip we plan to bring our Tree Club notebook to help us identify some deciduous trees (the ones with the falling leaves right now).
We all do pretty well identifying various evergreens but the deciduous trees are much harder to figure out. There are so many tiny details to remember in order to tell the differences among them.
The leaf that prompted us to return with our tree identifying notebook. We guessed it was from a maple tree but needed to consult the book at home to figure out it was a sugar maple leaf.
Do you have a trick to help identify certain types of leaves? We know the white pine tree one (5 needles = 5 letters in w-h-i-t-e). We'd love a few other tips to make it easier for us to remember if you have 'em.
October 07, 2006
Some creative thinking
Just as I was getting ready for bed last night, G. came running into my bedroom with a camera to ask me a question. Apparently she needed to wash her favorite pants and wanted help running the washing machine (which she does occasionally when she has a clothes "emergency").
What impressed me was that (1) she knew I was tired and would grumble about going downstairs to run the machine for her, (2) she recognized the fact that she has trouble describing things and turning knobs in the correct direction (she's a lefty with dyslexia) and (3) she figured out a way to ask for help without me having to actually do anything.
Her solution -- to take a picture of the machine's knob then show me on the camera's LCD screen to clarify what setting she needed for her clothes.
Now if only I could get her to put away her laundry afterwards...
October 06, 2006
A puck duck review
Being close to the ice at a Pirates' game has its advantages - we were in the 4th row last night - but I like being a little farther away. It's less stressful for me, especially when the girls bring a friend to the game. I did a refresher on the Almeida Puck Duck since we are NOT a try-to-catch-the-puck family. I'd much rather spend $10 to buy a puck in the team's store than take a trip to the emergency room.
The Almeida Puck Duck
L. and I roamed the stands taking photos for Seen Team while G. and her friend happily chatted in their special 10-year-old ways while eating fried dough and popcorn and drinking soda in their seats.
Since this is only our second season as Pirates' fans, we had some new learnings last night:
A hockey stick really can go through the gap between the boot and blade of a skate and get stuck there during a fast moving game.
A goal doesn't count if it is nudged in by a glove (I still think the Pirates were robbed with that one!)
I can see the forecast of the evening's weather via the video screen scoreboard. Helpful information inside the Civic Center.
The "V section" guys are back for another season sporting new t-shirts (these guys chant and cheer on the team and my kids think they're fun).
A broken glass panel happens more often than I thought. And like last year, those guys had it replaced in less than 15 minutes.
Sometimes "Sweet Caroline" takes a night off and is replaced with a Grease song.
Silver bracelet clasps can spring open when you fiddle with them and fall between the seats in front of you (I know this but my 10-year-old just learned that lesson) so that at the end of the game you have to pick it up off of a gooey, beer-smelly floor (and no, mom left the dirty work to the bracelet owner).
The game will always go into overtime then not score and force a shoot out on the nights I really want to get home at a decent hour (sadly, they lost in the end).
October 02, 2006
Good winter gear karma this week
I scored a couple of downhill skiing helmets and a pair of cross country ski boots for G. at Goodwill this week. It's hit or miss at second-hand stores for me in finding the gear we need for our various sports interests. New equipment is simply not in our family budget so I'm always (even in summer) on the lookout for winter sports equipment, the most priciest activities for us.
My friend Meg has great luck buying quality ice skates on e-Bay but every time I bid on a pair (not often I admit), I never "win" them (or they go beyond the price of buying them new so I stop bidding). But then one day I found a pair of Glacier skates at Goodwill - in L.'s current size - right after her big fall on the ice with her poor-quality skates. I celebrated for a week about that find (Glaciers are approx. $55 new and I got them for $3.99).
After comparing notes with Meg and other friends, we determined the best way to get used sports equipment for kids is to be diligent with the used sources you have the best luck with. Unless you're always checking in the store or online, you aren't necessarily going to find what you need at the price you want to pay. The other key point with online bidding is knowing how much the gear costs new and that you figure shipping into the overall cost.
And yes I agree, buying used gear can be a time-consuming!
At the moment I'm on a serious mission to find quality downhill ski boots for G. (and possibly new skis). She wears a woman's shoe size and adult gear is much pricier. I'm looking into selling her old boots to off-set the cost of a new pair at Play It Again Sports. It might be the best way to go for us but I'm also going to explore some other (new to us) options. MaineToday's Marketplace and Maine's craigslist are both local sites so if I find something I like for the right price, I can pick them up and avoid shipping costs. (Can you tell I hate paying for shipping?)
Do you have a favorite place/site to get used gear?
October 01, 2006
Who's the Pirate pig?
We couldn't resist going to see the Pirates' preseason game last night and hope to see more of this during the regular season (which opens Friday night).
The kids spent the first few minutes chatting about the ice looking different this year -- the center line has diamonds instead of a filled line and the Ducks have a new logo.
The various mascots were out in force last night with Salty Pete, Crackers, Mercy Bear and Oakie. But L. and her little friend (who we ran into at the game and ended up sitting with) didn't recognize "Buck" the pink pig. None of the people around us seemed to know who he was either.
Do you know who this pig is?
The kids' first parade
Yesterday the kids' 4-H club made a float for the Cumberland County Fair's parade. It's a very, very small affair on the race track but it was the first one the girls had been in so they were pretty excited. They did a lot of laughing and waving with their 4-H friends.
The float's theme was "Outdoor Education."
Photos from the parade
Westbrook's chicken controversy
I am sad to hear about the Westbrook chicken situation. As much as a pain in the behind as the Almeida flock can be at times, they really are family pets and I can't imagine being told we had to get rid of them.
Ledoux has kept a small flock of chickens in his backyard for about 10 years. His family and neighbors enjoy the fresh eggs, and his children treat the birds like pets, calling them by name.
Ledoux says it's soothing for him to simply watch his chickens cluck and preen. But a neighbor who finds the chickens nerve-wracking and recently complained to the city that they're too noisy and smelly.
Even when a dog got loose and ate one of our chickens, we handled things amicably with our neighbors. No one wants to live in a place where people can't act like adults and work out their differences.
With city officials now involved in Westbrook, I'm not sure anyone will really "win" in the end.