Tag Archive | kids

The Cloisters

Yesterday we went off to the noted museum in new york; The Cloisters.  I have never been there because it is in a very hard part of the city to get to, and, it is a very niche collection so when given a choice of how to spend time we always choose to be more downtown and get to see more in the day.  This time we decided we were going and set out on the 1.5h drive (that took 2.5) and lucked out with a great parking spot and also a very pretty day.

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The cloisters is basically a 14th and 15th-century European collection so I had told the kids that “everything you see in this museum we can do in the SCA” (the history group we do).  Convincing kids museums are fun isn’t ever easy unless there is a dinosaur involved but they are getting better at appreciating.  Anyway, the big surprise when we walked in was that they are doing a modern art exhibit for closing inspired by the collection.

Yup… that was a weird mix of awesome and fail at the same time.

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The dresses were outstanding, showing that high-end designers, when asked to make wearable art, can absolutely do it 110%.  They were also displayed perfectly in the spaces, truly showing that someone in charge was both artistic and skilled.

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I didn’t go crazy with pictures because I know I can get better detail from the online catalogs but seeing them in person is something special.  The unicorn tapestries were all they are ever hyped to be and recently reading a book they featured in made them more real to the kids.  Overall, having the kids do math about the items impressed them that they were inches away from things created 900 years ago.  To my European readers, I know, your post office is probably 900 years old but for us that is pretty impressive.

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The other excellent thing about this museum is that the building IS part of the exhibit.  Every door and window and most of the stones are from 14th and 15th-century monasteries.  I wish I had more time to look at everything but the impressive part that I’ll carry forward in my life is the walled garden.  I always thought the walls would make too much shade but this shows that plants in the center do very well and there is nice shade around the edges for sitting and looking at the garden.  Given I will be in a place with lots of land I may be experimenting with the concept since it will be a good way to keep out the wildlife and also create an interesting structure on our flat rectangle of land.

We left the pocket universe of the Cloisters and headed back and as if we needed more reasons not to live in the crazy land of long island we took nearly 4 hours to get back.  To give perspective, we can drive to the close part of Canada from our house in the same amount of time.  It did give me an opportunity to get a nice landscape picture while stopped on the bridge so that’s good at least.

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The day was not lost at all.  One of the very very best things about visiting family is that there are more adults in the system so things get handled.  My sister turned up at parents house and created dinner that was 10 min from done when we walked int.  Way better than facing dinner decisions after 4 road fried hours.  We topped off the night with a visit to the big boat with friends and floated at dock while the kids played and generally had fun.

Today Lars when home and now we enter into phase 2 of vacation – the solo mom adventure.

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Postcards from our travel

Last week Friday we packed up the minivan and hit the road after work.  The kids are getting pretty well trained and I have to say this was one of the best trips for travel behaviors yet.  The combo of learning to read, and, lifelong training meant that while it was still a loooong trip, nobody wanted to abandon anyone on the side of the road at any time.

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We spent Friday night in a Chicago hotel, and Saturday in an eastern PA one.  We made good enough time that the kids got some pool time in PA and the next morning we visited with family in the area and then back on the road to my parents’ house.  Traffic was not perfect,  it never is, but, only added on a little over an hour so all in all it was a 20 driving hour trip.

Once we got here my only plan was to be here.  We have been making plans as we go but given that we are on vacation and nobody else is, we have plenty of chill time.  There is a big 90th birthday reunion style party this weekend that since we are here we will go to. I’ve learned from being away that where there is a chance to see everyone, take it.  You never know when the next one will come and for some of the people who are in their late 80’s I way prefer to visit them now then regret the loss when it is too late.   I’m lucky that I enjoy 90% of my family and even the crazy 10% are not offensive, just not my preferred brand of crazy.

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On the vacation bucket list we have gotten out on the big boat, had a cousin sleep over party, gone out for ice cream, and played in the parks.  Its a bit cold for the beach but maybe next week.  Just like most times you visit family, it isn’t truly a ‘vacation’ it is just living life in a different place with fewer responsibilities.  I am glad we are here now, it is a great break from house packing at the very least 🙂

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My whole crew plus friends, birds, and dogs.

Three days of summer completed, only 137 to go.

Mostly good so far, we had plans and they kept us busy and I think we are getting used to being around each other 24/7.  It has only been the equivalent of a long weekend so I’ll re-evaluate when we get to a week.  I’m even preplanning next week, whole days in advance.

So far we have;

Celebrated the first day with a fire and friends and a toast to the summer to come

Had friends over, most notable was a Fiona friend whose birthday we will miss and she missed Fiona’s so we did an un-birthday playdate.  Nothing makes a little girl feel special like a personal sized cake.  (the pans are from Ikea in the kid section, get them!)

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Gone to a friends house, rode bikes around the block and played in the yard, traumatizing the many robins who are nesting.

Procured a summer wardrobe for 3 girls since all their summer stuff is deeeeep in storage (remember originally we were supposed to move in April).  We lost shopping patience so I have 2 pairs of shorts beyond the workout bottoms I had kept out.  I ended up modifying a t-shirt to be more trendy (and less annoying at the neck).

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DIY; Cut off the collar, at shoulder seam cut a small triangle point down.

We are reading more but not getting much other ‘school’ stuff done but it has been a busy few days.

Gone to the gym 2x and the pool once – I’m very hopeful to continue this trend since I’ll get both a kid break and a workout.

Today Lars is taking the girls out and I’m getting all the winter stuff out to storage and starting in on all the decorative things we kept out simply to make the house look good for showing.  Yes, I do like how it looks too in a hotel sort of way, but in the interest of getting packed in a non-panic I’ll start round 3 with the less essential items.

We even got in a date night!  For the first time in WEEKS Lars and I had an evening with no plans and our sitter was ready and willing so we went out to eat together.  This isn’t to say we don’t see each other – about half the time we go to different things in the evening but are back by 8ish and do kid bedtime and then have the evening together, just taking the whole night is special.

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Given that it is a holiday weekend it double downs on different from a school week with a day trip on Monday.  Zoe already said she has no idea what day it is and might just consider all days between now and school Saturday.  Why not?

No real drama yet and I’m glad.  We have so many things cooking that I think we will exhaust ourselves – I should really put ‘relaxing’ on the list at some point.

 

ps.  I got my side by side done for the kids, here is beginning of the year and end

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3 quotes; Day 2

2 in a row! Go me!  See my post yesterday for the full intro, here is the mini version and my second entry of three.

Rules; Thank the person who challenged you, post a quote, tag 3 others, for 3 days in a row.

Thank you, Fancy Paper – and a double thanks for introducing a new active blog group that isn’t full of people just doing ‘selling stuff’ posts.  A few of those, no big deal, however 100% polish corporate blog is not all that fun to read.

Quote;

Love is patient, love is kind

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I’m not super religious but this quote from 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 (RC Bible) and virtually every wedding I’ve been to is less about a religion and more about the nature of love.  Like how kleenex is technically a brand but we all use it in reference to disposable nose blowing receptacles.  Love is a big concept, it covers everything from a treat to the person you spend your life with to the children you produce to the best pair of boots ever.  We use the word liberally in my world.

However… Love is also hard and involves choices.  Things happen with kids and spouses and houses and projects when you need to take a breath and remember that love is patient, and, love is kind.

 

Tagging 3 people who I hope join in;

Talking to myself – this is a person I know in real life and hopefully, this tag inspires him to write a word or 5.

Knotty Heart – another real-life friend who is blogging their brewing adventures, and, their cats.

Shanna Hatfield – an author I started following because she is just fun to read, and, someday I wish I could write something that would be published.

 

This is a nice departure from house house house house…. Thanks again Fancy 🙂

My Easter Weekend of Transformation

This year Easter is early, and, right in the last 3 miles of the marathon of getting this house ready.  The goal is Wednesday.  Truly the goal is Tuesday night so Wednesday all I need to do is a tidy after they depart for school and then hold my breath until it is sold.

I’m sure you all have experienced the chaos that is the third quarter of a project, everything is torn up and you have been working and working and still, it looks 10x worse than when you started?  That was our Friday and Saturday.  Sunday, we started to actually pull it back together and our house is getting truly ‘done’.

Friends convinced me I did not need to change every doorknob, at least not yet…

I convinced Lars we HAD to either repaint the master or color match it so I could touch up three spots that look like the size of Africa to me but in reality are the comparative size of Fiji.  He dutifully went to home depot 2x to get paint and now I’m painting my house with a tiny paintbrush.  The Lars list is very long, he has done so much I just don’t put it all here.  There was a time on Friday that I couldn’t help thinking how well we actually work together on big stressful projects as our storage trip was suddenly our mini date.

We finally finished the painting in the 2 rooms we were repainting and then I facetimed with my family while scrubbing the trim and floors to get all the tiny paint spots clean.  Good thing Magic Erasers were on sale last week, I’ve disintegrated 4 already between walls and floors.

 

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this end done, nobody go over there.

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not the right chairs, that chest will move back so side table position soon, and, the picture needs to get new art and hung up.

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kid desk still has tools but hey, they are at least in one spot.

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my real computer was put away to eliminate ‘clutter’

 

In the breaks between cleaning, we did a little thing called Easter.  It was very mellow for us this year and I’m pretty glad it actually fell on April Fools.  In the end I handled lack of traditional baskets (in storage) with 3 decorative boxes and then I hid them in the closet and made them a giant basket of socks.  Zoe was first up and exploring and found the fake basket and remarked: “at least there is some candy” and then the clever girl found a bag of trash.  The living room was early on the hit list so it is pretty clean and decluttered overall and I forgot to dispose of the evidence of basket treats and Zoe found it.  Don’t worry, she still believes, maybe even more now because she considered it a mix of a trick and a clue that there were REAL easter baskets somewhere.  I’m pretty proud of the way this shook out and I got to hear the sounds of joy when they found them.

This year, due to snow, we hid eggs in the house.  Growing up we nearly always had indoor egg hunts but this is the first year weather was bad so it was a new twist for our kids.  I think we had about 150 eggs and 3 kids so for a solid 20min they were searching.  Easy ones were passed 100 times, hard ones found instantly, in the end, we might be short 2 real eggs but I bet I’ll find them since my plan is to super clean.  I did find 4 missed plastic eggs that afternoon cleaning the bookshelf, they were pretty well hidden.

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Easter food focused on just the 5 of us.  We had a breakfast guest who also witnessed the egg hunt and then helped with the house and then went home again.  Pancakes for breakfast, Lox and bagels for lunch, and Rack of Lamb with homemade french fries and asparagus for dinner.  Niamh made a pie, two actually, but that is another story.  I’m just glad she is interested in cooking.

Some things I planned did happen, others didn’t, but I think the weekend went pretty well.  The kids entertained themselves mostly and helped a bit.  They are old enough to all shower solo and understand that “mommy is a bit stressed right now”.   By the end I felt like I had spent hours at the gym when all I did was move furniture, scrub floors/walls/trim, wash windows and pick up and move a million little things to either the trash, its home, or a box for storage.

Today the plan is to stop doing new projects and continue pulling it all together again.  We have a contractor coming to power wash and do a few minor outside things.  I have a meeting on the new house to pick plumbing.  Lars is back to work and the kids are back to school.  I feel bad about not doing my normal holiday reach out to friends but I’m sure everyone will understand.  By next week I’ll be in maintenance mode only and while that won’t be nothing it sure won’t be the job it is to get to the ‘show ready’ we nearly are.

Cookies; the video

My girls are selling Girl Scout cookies for the next month.  They wanted to make a video and if I knew how hard it was going to be I’m not sure I would have done it but hey, girl scouts is about learning new things.  It took way too long to edit this to something people would be willing to watch but now I learned something new too.

There are some funny bits I’ll post another day but if you feel inclined to support the kids please click.

*It is really odd, Niamh is usually the shy one and Zoe can’t stop talking but something about a video reverses that*

Here are their direct site links;

To buy from Niamh; https://www.abcsmartcookies.com/#/shopify-landing/d74eb296-bfaa-429d-9705-e0cdb85baf11 to buy from Zoe; https://www.abcsmartcookies.com/#/shopify-landing/d74eb296-bfaa-429d-9705-e0cdb85baf11 ** there is an option if you are local or we will see you soonish for personal delivery, otherwise, you can have them shipped directly**