Thursday, June 30, 2011

Our Family Trip to Old Orchard Beach

Ah! OOB...the mecca for any good French-Canadian (as my husband is). We took our first trip out of the summer this past weekend and enjoyed the sun, surf, and poutine!

I love the buildings in the center of Old Orchard. Very sea-sidey.

The Old Orchard Beach town hall. Such a pretty building.

The beach! And, probably the only place in America where you'll hear more French than English being spoken :-)
Poutine. For the uninitiated, poutine is French fries, gravy, and cheese (not sure what kind of cheese, but it's good), all melted together. It's crazy good.

DOH strapping Liz's boogie board on her wrist.

Liz and her daddy about to hit the surf.

Really enjoying the sand (and this requires deep concentration, apparently).

Me and DOH! Aren't we adorable!

This is the closest we actually got Liz to the water. She took one quick dip in the ocean, it freaked her out, and that was it after that.
 So, I would have loved to have shown you some great pictures of Lizzie and DOH playing in the surf, but both chickened out (Liz, because she was overwhelmed by the waves, though she assures me that next time she'll "jump through the waves" so she doesn't get splashed so much; DOH, because it was tooooooo cold, waaaaah!). Maybe next time?

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Top Ten: Terribly Awesome Things I'm Currently Unable to Live Without

  1. My $15 "sea grass" bag from Wal-Mart. And while I'm currently coveting a $45 one from Cold Stone Creek, this one is doing just fine.
  2. Mrs. Meyer's basil scented dish soap and lavendar laundry detergent. OMFG, this stuff makes me want to do the dishes and laundry, a previously impossible task. Love this stuff.
  3. Flip-flops. Whatever pair I can find lying around the house. These are on my feet from March until November.
  4. My super-sweet key chain--a repurposed shower curtain hook (an idea from Martha Stewart).
  5. My camera. I've been taking TONS of photos this summer (something I've had a tough time doing in the past). I don't know what it is, but I've felt a strong need to document EVERYTHING visually this summer.
  6. Stuff You Missed In History Class podcasts. These podcasts are AWESOME. Sarah and Deblina, the lovely and ever-informative hosts, are great, pick the best topics, and you feel like you're listening to a couple of your girlfriends talk about, of all things, history (and really neat history, at that). They cover a wide range of topics and have warded many afternoons for boredom.
  7. Spray on sunscreen. We've been spending a ton of time outside lately, and with all that lovely sunshine comes sunburns (owie!). So, to head it off, a quick spray of sunscreen is what we use. It's fast, convenient, and works wonderfully.
  8. Jergen's Natural Glow Daily Moisturizer. With a family history of skin cancer, I've really never been able to justify tanning, either in a booth or by simply sitting out in the sun with no coverage. However, I'm a blond and I'm pale, so I need something to perk up my skin tone a bit and this product from Jergen's does the trick.
  9. Matchbook Magazine. It's a FREE online magazine that is...awesome. It focuses on twenty-something ladies, their interests, their designs, and all that other great stuff. Love it!
  10. My roses. They are all over the place at our house and I've started cutting a few every once in a while to bring into the house. The best ever.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Quickie Book Reviews

It's Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vezzini

Being a secondary education major (i.e. professional torturer of teenagers), I'm a bit of a young adult (YA) lit. junkie. I love me a good story about angsty teens and this one takes the cake. It's Kind of a Funny Story is a kind of funny story about a teenage boy with depression, his contemplation of suicide, and his eventual (and fairly hilarious) stay at a hospital psych ward.

While the story is light, the subject is not, and the book repsects that. Having dealt with depression/anxiety myself as a teenager, I feel that the story that's told is accurate and fair, and respects the very individual, though not uncommon experiences of those with depression. And while we don't want kids to think it's "cool" to be depressed or suicidal, the book takes away some of the negative stigma that might be associated with depression while showing how serious things may be for those suffering. And it still manages to be wicked funny.

A Wrinkle In Time by Madeline L'Engle

This is an old favorite of mine, a book that inspired me to look at the universe in an entirely different way. While my reading of the book is far different than it was when I was 12 (totally an anti-Communist message behind a lot of what is being written), it's still a thoroughly enjoyable read. For anyone who has a love for the underdog or can relate to the "outcast" and needs a quick escape to a whole other universe (literally), then this is a great read.

The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown

I love me some Dan Brown. I've read many of his books and he is one of the few authors who I happily race through and will reread over and over (the other books include Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series, which I'm probably in love with and the Harry Potter books). If you've read the other two Robert Langdon books (including The Da Vinci Code), you're looking at the same kind of deal: Robert Langdon finds himself in a history-rich location (in this case, D.C.) and craziness ensues. Here, you have a disembodied hand showing up, followed by a race against time all over D.C. (similar to the races against time in Rome, France, and London in his previous books). It's all very formulaic (if you've read the other two, you'll most definitely see a pattern), but, in my opinion, it's a damn good formula. Also, if you have a small conspiracy theorist/history buff living inside you that you like to indulge, this is a great read (Freemasons, hidden government power circles, the CIA...all the good stuff).

Happy reading!!

It's Here!

We finally, after a month of waiting, have internet at the house! I'm so excited! While I've really made good use of non-internet time (mainly, reading books and sewing pillows), I'm pretty happy to have it back. Of course, I did realize that I can get quite a lot done when I'm not on Facebook all the time, so the internet returns with a revised policy--I will only be online during parts of Lizzie's naptime (unless there is more pressing things at hand) and after 7:30-8pm.

But that starts after today :-)

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Things Slow Down...And I Don't Mind

Door to our sauna.
So...We're still all sleeping on our mattress in the basement.

(I failed to mention this before, because I didn't think we'd still be down there after nearly a month in the house.)

We're relying a lot on our own manpower, and my dad's. He's renovated two homes, plus does home inspections--he's our expert, but is a busy, busy dude, so his help comes in spurts. So, while a lot of work has gotten accomplished (like, turning a large, open room into two, functional bedrooms), we've sort stalled. My dad's business has picked up more lately (yay!), DOH is working his butt off before he starts his new job in about a week and a half, and I have a three year old who makes it just a bit difficult to get much done.

So, we're left to the basement, all crammed in with the few boxes left to be unpacked (of course, it is a finished basement, and we have use of the rest of the house, but after nearly two years of our own bedrooms with Lizzie very rarely coming into bed with us, it's an adjustment, for sure). And while, had I foreseen this situation prior to moving in, I would have dreaded it, in reality, I'm really okay with it. Really.

There is something cozy about all of us snuggled in bed, waking up together on the days DOH is home, and sharing that extra time together that we ordinarily wouldn't get. What's more, after five years of dorm/apartment living, I cannot be anything but thankful for our home, no matter how...uncomfortable...the conditions currently are. I spent nearly half my life living in a house that was perpetually being renovated, so, this sort of semi-nomadic feeling (DOH and I have decided it feels like we're camping, which makes it a little bit more fun) is something I'm totally used to, if not entirely fond of.

The construction project that is our bedrooms (then will be our stairway, and part of the living area, and the upstairs bathroom, though those are all minor), will eventually come to an end, and we'll move our things up there, go back to having our seperate bedrooms, and things will resume a more normal, less camp-y feel, but I know I will look back on this very brief period in our first family home and feel a strong sense of our family, how much we love one another, and how very lucky we are to have what we have.

Monday, June 6, 2011

A Wonderful Christmas Time

Yes, you read that title correctly--I'm thinking Christmas.

I know it's a loooong way off, and in order for the holiday to go off in the way I'm picturing it, a few things need to happen between now and then that haven't quite transpired (like me having a job that pays in the moneys rather than kisses), but I've always enjoyed Christmas, and for me, it's never really too soon to be thinking about it (except for on December 26th--then I just want to sleep for about a year).

We've tentatively decided to do Christmas at our house. In the past we've spent Christmas Eve at my parents, slept over, done Christmas morning with them, and then proceeded to spend the rest of the day running around like chickens with their heads cut off, visiting DOH's mom's family, then his bio dad's family. It's a lot of work, lugging a ton of stuff, and it's never quite as enjoyable as it was prior to baby (when our presence was less in demand).

We usually go to DOH's aunt's house for Christmas dinner, which has always been nice for us, but she has expressed a desire to discontinue this tradition (and I can't blame her, it's a lot of work). When she came to check out our new house a few weeks ago, she said, "Oh, well, Kirsten, you can just have Christmas here!" I wasn't sure if she was serious or not, but after a follow up chat via Facebook (Thank goodness for modern technology--otherwise I'd have had to pick up a phone! :-) ), I found out she was.

And so it was decided that we would be in charge of Christmas for DOH's side of the family.

So, while it's lovely and balmy and sunny outside, a long and lush summer stretched out before us, I do, in some small corner of my brain, have sugar plums dancing in my head.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Summer Lovin'

As a lot of us know, the past couple of months have been filled with wacky weather. Maybe it was tons (and tons and tons) of snow in early spring, ridiculous amonts of rain, tornadoes, or unseasonably cold temps (or unseasonably warm), either way, things just haven't felt right. Until now.

After weeks (or, at least, what felt like weeks) of lousy, rainy, cloudy, grim weather, we had a full week of almost entirely perfect weather. Warm (even gloriously hot) air, cloudless skies, and beaming sunshine have graced us here in Maine. I spent my afternoons while Lizzie napped lounging in the new house's hammock, inhaling the perfect scent of liliacs (I need to find a perfume that's scented with liliacs), reading a book and eventually falling asleep. I've realized that this is the way I'll likely be able to spend many of my afternoons this summer and I can't say I've much to complain about.

This latest bout of sunshiney weather has infused a new skip in my step. I'm feeling invigerated for the months to come and am looking forward to spending lots of time outdoors. I snapped a few pictures of our outdoor adventures this past week, so I'm goin to share them now.

Cold water! Lizzie playing in the little turtle pool her great-grandparents brought her.

Ah... The good life :-) It'll be nice we get real furniture instead of bright orange folding chairs.

Just one of the many beautiful flowers that have cropped up in our garden.

The pathway down to the saaaaaauna (trust me, not as fancy as it seems) and our firepit.

Lizzie at the park, swinging.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Things I Don't Like Talking About

Over the course of about 10 weeks I lost 20 pounds. I've gained about 7 back.


I don't like that. Not one bit. Part of it was a sheer loss of motivation. I had hit the end of student teaching, was graduating, moving, and starting to subsitute teach. Too much going on, no sort of set schedule set in place, and I lost my mind and will to not eat all the time.

I don't like to exercise much, but I'll do it. It's the food.

I like to eat and I justify all my eating with the fact that I need to do it in order to live, but...

I honestly don't need to be eating this much to survive. I mean, if our level of survival was dependent on how much food we could consume, I should have superpowers by now.

But instead I'm just fat.

This sucks.


It just needs to stop. Now. (All the eating...well, most of it. I do need to live.)

I don't want to talk about it anymore.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Three Fast Book Review

A Whole New Mind:

Amazing book, especially if you're in any sort of career field that is constantly changing things up or looking for a new way to approach your product or service (like, say, in education). It focuses on several different areas where people will need to be able to excel in a new global job market. Super interesting.

The Graveyard Book:

A young adult novel about a boy who is raised in a graveyard by ghosts and other supernatural beings. It's by Neil Gaiman who wrote Stardust and Coraline, both of which have been made into movies. The beginning is super depressing (especially if you're a parent), but the story is well written and interesting. I'm also fairly certain there will be a sequel.

Dead Until Dark:

If you've watched True Blood on HBO and loved it then you'll probably love this book. It's the first in the Sookie Stackhouse series (so, True Blood is based on these books, and Dead Until Dawn is basically the first season of the T.V. show in book form) and while I wasn't so sure about the writing at first, I was completely won over. Even if you haven't seen the show, if you're looking for a good vampire/romance book to take to the beach this summer, and you're not a Twilight loser fan, then this would be the book to grab.

Happy reading!

When I Grow Up

I want to buy this book:
Because someday, I want to be that (a domestic goddes...not the cupcake). I don't know why. Up until the last couple of years I've had no desire to be good at any of that housewifey stuff, like cooking and cleaning and entertaining and raising vaguely normal offspring. Nor have I shown any sort of proclivity towards those sorts of things. I'm not neat, I'm frequently too impatient and/or absent minded to really cook anything overly complicated, and I'm quite possibly a very crap mum.

Yet, here I am, oggling recipes on Martha Stewart, where one meal would probably cost me the same amount I spend on a week's worth of meals.

Must be the cute aprons:

Oh, The Places You Won't Go...Online

We're moved in. Our upstairs bedrooms are painted. Most of the boxes are unpacked (...most...). And it's been a week. Yet, here I am, sucking internet off of my parents, because the freaking internet provider we've been using does not provide internet in our new area. I find this all bizarre, because we have literally come down from the distant Western mountains of Maine, where Time Warner didn't venture to a much more populated area and the phone company that is supposed to cover the entire state won't cover us for internet because we're literally half a mile away from an invisible line where coverage ends.

What are we going to do?

*Head desk*

Meanwhile, since I'm completely without the internet, I'm finding time to do other things. Like subsitute teach (Score!). And clean. We have one of the neatest not quite moved into homes in the state. I promise. I've also finished three (Yep. Count 'em. THREE) books this week. Okay, so, not having internet sucks, for a variety of reasons, BUT it does lead me to get a whole lot more done.

Plus, it's hard to want to stay indoors, glued to a keyboard when the weather is so freaking GORGEOUS. Until today, it's been hot, hot, hot and sunny (i.e. perfect). We've been to the beach a few times, played outside with the hose (a total novelty for me, since I grew up in a home where there was a dug well that dried up very easily and we had to use water sparingly...and then we moved to Maine, on a lake, and then we never  needed a hose--at least for playing), and have spent a lot of time outside just enjoying the total late May/early June weather.

So, for now, this is what I've got. I'll try to pop in here and there with updates on the house and whatever else is going on, but there will likely be big gaps between posts.

Such is life, right?
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