Thursday, December 31, 2015

Day 8.355: Sun and games

We enjoyed the last day of 2015 with the making of chocolate (Exile #4 with Exile #2), a game of Clue[do] (Exile #2, Exile #4 and me), several games of Phase 10 Dice (everyone), a couple of games of Ingenious (Exile #2 and me), some geode breaking (E5N1 and me), some grocery shopping (Exile #3 and me) and a walk in the sunshine as the snow started to melt (everyone).

Three of those activities looked like this (with help from the selfie-stick!):

Happy New Year everyone!

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Day 8.354: Tiny Bob

A story from while I was at out for the last working day of the year today:

E5N1 (opening the door in urgently having been playing outside in the snow): I need a baby carrot and ten raisins!

OK it wasn't much of a story, but here's E5N1's creation: Snowman Bob (he's probably about ten inches tall):

Exile #2 calls him "Tiny Bob". Amazingly, I managed to get home to photograph him before it got too dark.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Day 8.353: On the fifth day of Christmas...

...the weather gave to us...five (or so) inch-es of snow.

It started (for me) with a fairly sedate-paced but hard-work run in this:

Followed by clearing the driveway so I could be one of the few...

who made it into work (to be fair, most who weren't there had planned it that way before the snow came).

Then I came home to do some more snow clearance:

In between, Exile #2 did a shift with the driveway and Exile #4 and E5N1 played in the snow and Exile #3 hid in her room and pretended it was not happening.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Day 8.352: Body Worlds

Exile #3, E5N1 and I went to Portland Science Center to see the Body Worlds exhibition this morning. It was very impressive and interesting.

E5N1 declared it to be both "inappropriate" and "disgusting" but was very engaged despite the look-and-read nature of it and loved hamming it up for some photos:

Exile #4 decided against joining us, so Exile #2 took her for a haircut and small shopping trip instead. Everyone seemed happy with their choices.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Day 8:351: Exile #2's Sunday Column #87

Exile #2 writes:

Today was a day of keeping promises. First thing, I took Exile #3 to a local department store for her Christmas gift, which was a shopping trip to buy some clothes. It was successful, except for the bit where we needed to pay, and I realized I'd transferred my purse to the rucksack yesterday and forgotten to transfer it back! Fortunately, we were not too far from home and Exile #1 came to the rescue.

Promise number 2 was a diversion on the way home to buy some "C" batteries for E5N1's new pottery wheel. Exile #1 got him all set up and he managed to turn out a nice little pot, which is air-drying, ready for painting. While they waited for it to harden a little, they got cracking on one of a set of geodes he received as a gift. E5N1 is having fun opening them up and trying to identify the crystals inside.

While they did that, Exile #4 and I tackled the second of her Christmas candy-making kits, this time to make gummies (yesterday it was chewing gum). The kits are pretty interesting, involving natural ingredients such as chicle gum, and seaweed to make the candies. We dug out our Dr Who candy mold and before long had a nice selection of sour gummies to show for our efforts.

All in all a productive day, although a couple of naps may also have been had along the way.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Day 8.350: Wells Reserve at Laudholm

It was cooler today (but not as cold as it "should be" at this time of year), clear and sunny. We made the trip to LaudholmExile #2 and the kids had visited without me for Earth Day during the spring break just after we moved here. It was my first time.

We walked maybe two miles or so, with paths and boardwalks, salt marsh overlooks and stony and sandy beaches all featuring. Here are some pictures:

The rest of the day was spent with a game or two, watching yesterday's Doctor Who and some more eating and drinking.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Day 8.349: What passes for "quiet"

I guess when discussing our Christmas plans, we probably used the word "quiet" once or twice to mean that we weren't traveling, or having a big family gathering or anything. It doesn't actually mean it was quiet of course.

We managed to chat with most of the family on Skype or Facetime and then there was all this:

Fun with a selfie-stick, novel decorations on the Christmas cake, some origami, unwrapping, toppling dominos, smashing a geode, confusion caused by mislabeled gifts and a marvelous meal.

and a number of other things.

Happy/Merry Christmas to all!

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Day 8.347: We took Elf off the shelf

Except we didn't because we own a digital copy.

The rest of the family watched this movie together two years ago when I was in Portland, and they were back in New York. I'm not sure if they watched it last year too, but I had not seen it until tonight.

I can't say I was overly excited to catch up with it, but it totally won me over. And, since I'm done with work until the 29th, it was time to start feeling a bit Christmassy!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Day 8.346: Owl's Head Museum by E5N1

This story about part of Day 8.278 came home with E5N1 from school a while ago. I have edited it as little as possible.

E5N1 writes:

We were in my Mom's van. Where were we going? Later we parked at a big building. But I heard something vrrrrooom screeeeeee!

Puzzled I went in with my family! We got stickers to let people know that we payed! We went into a small room. There right smack in the middle of the room was a blue car. It looked good in the light. Next we went into a big room. We saw a huge wheel!

Then we looked around bikes, motorcycle wheels and even a little train! That's really cool I thought! We came out. Next we went into a big room. There was a big plane like thing. The sign for it said The First Flight.

Next we went into another room it had toys and cars. The next room had horns. I pressed one. It was not like beep it was like brrurrb. It sounds like...a farting elefant. Next we went into a room with race cars.

Next we went outside and we saw a aeroplane taking off. There were pedal cars and I saw Granpa walking away. I ran up and said "What you doing?"

"Getting a ride" he said.

"Cool" I said. So me [and] Granpa will never forget that ride on the Model-T Ford, And we head home happy that we went.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Day 8.345: Little drummer boy

E5N1 fairly regularly gets up during the more rousing songs at church and pulls out one of the djembes to play. He's quite good at it when he concentrates (which is most of the time): rum pum pum pum.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Day 8.344: Exile #2's Sunday Column #86

Exile #2 writes...

Even E5N1 took himself off to bed willingly tonight, after another exciting and busy day. We followed up our caroling and partying of yesterday, by sharing some more music in church this morning (note to self: do not arrange to share music the morning after an afternoon of hearty caroling and an evening of loud conversation...!)

We grabbed lunch on our way back from Portland and then headed off to watch a movie. Yes, OK, THAT one. We may have been just a little excited, as we arrived somewhat early.

We found a comfortable place in line though, and were rewarded with excellent seats for our pains. I won't say a thing, unlike E5N1, who needed a hand swiftly applied to his mouth as he began to process what he'd seen just as we passed the queue for the next showing on the way out. There was something a little bit special about going to a movie where people broke into applause at the opening titles though.

Talking of long-awaited events - Happy Christmas! Have a wonderful week.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Day 8.343: Carols, party

For the second year in a row, we spent the Saturday afternoon before Christmas singing some carols and giving out cookies and hot chocolate to passers by with folk from our church. We thought that, unlike last year it wasn't going to be too cold, but although the actual temperature was in the mid-30's (maybe 2 or 3°C), the wind got up and it was, once again, quite bracing!

This evening we had a rather warmer outing - to one of my colleague's homes for a holiday party. We all had a good time, but now we're all ready for a rest (especially the introverts of the family)!

Friday, December 18, 2015

Day 8.342: Trees and lights

After dinner this evening, we went to the Saco Museum to see the Festival of Trees. I forgot to take any photos, but here's a link to last year's.

On our way home, we stopped to admire this house with its impressive array of decorations:

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Day 8.341: Modern watching

It's the last week of dance classes before the Christmas break, and I took the opportunity to "observe" Exile #3's Modern class today. Although I have got to see her dance a few times this season it was fun to see a whole class. They certainly work quite hard.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Day 8.340: That's math

I have never taken a math class, but Exile #3 seems to think I can help her with her math work. Fortunately, mathematics and I are not strangers, I just lean towards a different abbreviation.

I did have to look up what "standard form" means for the equation of a straight line however - and I suspect that has less to do with the continent and more to do with the decade.

Happily it all comes down to "write down what you know and mess with it to get what you need" which is pretty much the whole of my math(s) technique, and quite a lot of other things now I think about it.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Day 8.339: Art by E5N1

A few days ago I promised to post some of the watercolors that E5N1 has been doing. They are quite different in style from his sister's but also quite wonderful!

In other news, it's a last full week of work and school before Christmas and it's already feeling like it!

Monday, December 14, 2015

Day 8.338: Secret dancing Santas

Exile #3 had her last dance company rehearsal before Christmas this evening and they did a little secret Santa type thing.

This is what she painted for one of her dance friends:

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Day 8.337: Exile #2's Sunday Column #85

Exile #2 writes...

Yesterday, we had the fun of unpacking all the familiar baubles and ornaments for the Christmas tree. However, I think my favorite moment was when we were preparing to put the tree in its stand, and E5N1 rushed off to get a handful of knives from the cutlery drawer. This harks back to a couple of years ago, when Exile #1 was beginning his Maine adventure and the rest of us were in New York. He had come to visit one weekend in December and while he was with us, we put up the tree. It was a bit of a wrestle as the tree was a little large for the stand. However, we set it up, decorated it and then waved him off to Portland.

Barely had the door closed than there was a sickening whoosh and the whole thing keeled over. With the assistance of the young Exiles, I restored it to an upright position and fixed it in place with the only thing I could find thin enough and strong enough to do the job. Evidently, E5N1 is now convinced that knives are an essential part of the Christmas tree arrangement.

In other news, this afternoon we attended Exile #4's Christmas piano concert. She was a little under-prepared because of her recent illness but kept her head and made it through!

Exile #4 introducing her piece before disappearing behind the piano

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Day 8.336: Decorations and dinosaurs

We went back to Boiling Spring Tree Farm to cut our own Christmas tree today. It was very nearly t-shirt weather (rather different from last year).

No-one took a picture of the cutting, but here is our tree with a few of its fieldmates being transported to the parking lot:

and this is how it looks now:

After decorating, we had a family movie, Jurassic Park. The kids had not seen it and it was a long time since I had watched it all the way through - I had forgotten that it's very nearly one classic scene after another the whole way through.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Day 8.335: The other kind of dance

Both E5N1 and Exile #3 had dance classes today, but this evening was about the other kind of dance - the school dance. Here is Exile #3 all ready to head out (Exile #4 decided against joining her):

She looked much the same but rather more tired when I collected here two and a half hours later.

Meanwhile the rest of us watched some previously-watched Doctor Who, so we're all good.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Day 8.334: Watercolors

I'm sure Exile #3 would not approve of any "u"s creeping into that post title.

Last Sunday's painting session has led to all of these that she has done at home since:

E5N1 has been doing some too - perhaps I'll see if I can photograph those another day.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Day 8.333: Winter concert

It was the winter concert at the middle school this evening. Both the girls are in the chorus:

Can't spot them? What about now?

The concert was great and all - the chorus, two bands and the orchestra (strings) - did a nice job.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Day 8.332: Eight days in December

November was pretty much a washout running-wise. So much so that - sometime during my run this morning - December surpassed November for the number of miles I've run. Since it's only the 8th, I'm hoping to fit in quite a lot more running before the end of the year, but it's safe to say that December will not be threatening March's supremacy.

Sometime around the fourth week of the month I'm scheduled to start my marathon training program, but I feel like something else is happening around then...if only I can remember what it is.