Thursday, April 30, 2015

Day 8.110: Fancy Pants and Crazy Hair

Exile #2 and E5N1 made them.

Exile #4 and E5N1 named them.

I photographed them.

And now you know as much about them as I do.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Day 8.109: Did I tell you about the time...

...we bought a big-bed-sized mattress online and it came in a tiny box?

We failed to record the process at the time, but E5N1 has been very happily sleeping on it since Day 8.080. It is an engineering marvel.

Here is someone opening a couple of the same kind:

Now I want to see the process of packing them into the boxes!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Day 8.108: Kinder eggs

No not that kind - we all know that they are illegal here.

We may not be able to get Kinder Eggs, but at least we can get a Kinder Kind Of Egg:

Monday, April 27, 2015

Day 8.107: Warning: robots

Exile #2 took these pictures of...

the outside of E5N1's bedroom door:

and the consruction in progress inside:

We never know what to expect next.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Day 8.106: Exile #2's Sunday Column #54

Exile #2 writes...

Poor E5N1 chose to spend his week off school being under the weather but happily for the young Exiles, this allowed maximum opportunity to wear pajamas and lounge about. Fortunately, we managed to break out of the house on Friday for haircuts and an excursion. While we waited for our turn at the hairdressers, we strayed into the nearby craft store. Some remaining Christmas money may have been spent...

E5N1 put his purchase to use almost immediately, crafting a snappy looking party hat and a fluffy chick for our friend E's birthday. On Saturday, we all went over to join her in the making and eating of elaborate ice cream sundaes. We had intended to have our inaugural cook-out of the season afterwards but abandoned that on account of having no charcoal and it being ch-ch-chilly.

So, we're doing it today instead, despite the fact that it is even colder and potentially showery. Mind you, nothing like a rainy BBQ to remind you of home...

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Day 8.105: Seacoast Science Center

Our outing yesterday started with a trip to get haircuts for Exile #4, E5N1 and me. While we had all the kids in the car, we whisked them off to New Hampshire - as you do! Our destination was the Seacoast Science Center located just across the Piscataqua in Ordiorne Point State Park. Although we barely made it across the state line, it was the first time we'd left Maine in nearly four months.

The center is a marine museum and we all had a great time. Exile #4 and E5N1 both did (different) scavenger hunts, Exile #4 enjoyed the touch pools. E5N1 did a jigsaw and found a school of mummichogs. Exile #3 was playing it cool as usual, although - for once - she was not the one showing her disdain for the ritual photo-opportunity with the holes in the picture.

Another highlight was the driving of the ROV (remotely operated vehicle):

After we emerged, we went for a walk along one of the trails (cut short by one of E5N1's coughing fits - he's otherwise doing fine now). We could see Maine across the wide river estuary and decided to head back here. It was just as well as we'd all forgotten that Exile #3 had a birthday party to get to and we only arrived home with minutes to spare to get her there.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Day 8.104: We left this message (for you)...

I had a day off work today for the end of the kids' school vacation week and we had a busy day. Maybe I'll write about it tomorrow, but for today, here's a little puzzle for you...

Maybe you know signal flags, maybe you feel like looking them up, or maybe you'd like to guess!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Day 8.103: Collage of collages

I made a collage out of photos of these collages that Exile #2 and E5N1 made yesterday.

E5N1 had been quite unwell in the morning but rallied in the afternoon and is pretty much fine today apart from a hacking cough.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Day 8.102: Pink no longer

Exile #2 has now completed two coats of new paint in Exile #4's room. Here she is nearing the end of the first coat. Exile #4 meanwhile has been on an air-mattress in her siblings rooms - one night in E5N1's and then tonight is a second of two in Exile #3's.

Both the girls will be very happy if, as we anticipate, the room is at an acceptable paint-odour level for her to move back in tomorrow.

And, at some point, we'll have to see if we can get the mirrors safely back on the wall.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Day 8.101: Lots of rain

It started raining sometime yesterday afternoon and didn't really stop until mid-morning today. That means that I ran twelve miles in it this morning. When I got home I was literally dripping and needed to wring my clothes out before I could hang them to dry even though they are all quick-drying man-made fibres.

All the rain has other effects too - some of which are quite engaging:

Monday, April 20, 2015

Day 8.100: In E5N1's schoolwork...

...we came across this self-portrait:

No further commentary is required.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Day 8.099: Exile #2's Sunday Column #53

Exile #2 writes...

This week was really quite lovely and I'm sure I'm not just saying that because Exile #1 and I had a much-anticipated night out to see Sufjan Stevens.

As soon as the temperatures topped 60 degrees, the youngest Exiles broke out their shorts and t-shirts and began spending many happy hours outdoors.

Exile #4 is even sporting her first set of grazes thanks to a close encounter with a tree.

All this warmth and sunshine has also prompted a round of spring cleaning. Exile #3's bedroom is a joy to behold and the garage is swept clean of its accumulated leaves. Also, on the job list for this week is the painting of Exile #4's bedroom. She has been eagerly waiting for this ever since we moved in, being not so keen on hot pink as she once was. School is out and paint brushes are at the ready.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Day 8.098: Chores (to infinity)

We got some jobs around the house done today. This afternoon, we cleared out the garage, hid away the snow thrower, shovels and sleds and organised the other items.

Earlier, we took the big mirrors down from Exile #4's room as a first step towards a long-promised change of wall colour. She is already complaining that the lack of mirrors (probably combined with the furniture having been pulled away from the walls) is making the room look small.

The mirrors are in our room - which is looking very much larger as a result...

We did find time for a game of Blokus - with a Pokemon-theme twist thanks to E5N1:

Friday, April 17, 2015

Day 8.097: North vs South

On Monday afternoon, I was home from work sick. The illness involved three consecutive days of no running with a shortened run on either side, but I'm almost back to normal now. Out the back of the house there were still significant piles of snow.

Whereas at the front, Exile #4 and E5N1 were playing outside in the warm sunshine - in shorts and bare feet.

There's still a little snow - though much less than on Monday and I suspect it will not be around for too much longer.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Day 8.096: Andy Goldsworthy (by E5N1)

E5N1 had a project to do a biographical presentation about a famous person. Inspired by a few suggestions that included Vincent van Gogh, he chose his favourite artist, Andy Goldsworthy.

At times, it was hard to get him to stop looking at photos of nature-based sculptures and actually write a few sentences, but in the end he produced the required poster-board presentation.

 He also had to dress up as his chosen subject to present his project:

And now. with much relief from the kids, we've made it to their Spring Break, with no school for the next ten days.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Day 8.095: Normal exciting

After so long seeing the river completely still and frozen, followed by a week or two of excitement as the ice broke up, it was slightly comforting to see it back to the normal kind of exciting today:

Full, noisy and turbulent, but definitely liquid.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Day 8.094: Sufjan (in Maine!)

This evening we got out for the first time in a while to go into Portland to see Sufjan Stevens at the Merrill Auditorium.

We were quite happy about it!

The show was excellent - he started out by playing almost all of his new album "Carrie and Lowell". We were pleased we had had the chance to get to know these songs over the last couple of weeks - they came across great live - probably better than on the CD.

It is quite a dark collection of songs and it was quite intense.

Later, he did a collection of older songs (and the remaining track from Carrie and Lowell) and there were two wonderful lighter moments - firstly when he played the first verse of a song in the wrong key - only realizing when the piano failed to come in. "Am I playing this in the wrong key for you?" he asked the pianist. "Maybe," she responded tactfully.

And later, just before the final encore, someone in the crowd shouted, "Thank you for coming to Maine!" After a moment of silence, Sufjan chuckled to himself, then responded, "I've had, like, six lobster rolls in the last couple of days..."

Monday, April 13, 2015

Day 8.093: Seven weeks ago...

...the front yard looked quite different from how it did this afternoon:

The dress-code was quite different too!

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Day 8.092: Exile #2's Sunday Column #52

Exile #2 writes...

Apart from being our 1st year anniversary in Maine, it has mostly been an E5N1 sort of week. His birthday was on Wednesday. After a flurry of unwrapping and excitement, I took him and a load of cupcakes to school. I don't usually take him to school, thanks to the school bus but I'd been reminded by E5N1 that his class were leading assembly and that I should be there. Their presentation was full of timely reminders about safe bike riding and stranger danger, which they acted out with gusto before ending with a song, the lyrics of which seemed surprisingly understated for this side of the Atlantic.

"I've got superpowers, I can do most things myself
I've got superpowers I can do many things well"
(but not all - I know my limits!)

He continued the birthday fun this weekend by having a friend over. They had a great time playing inside and out, talking obsessively about Pokemon and Minecraft.

They had a great time and those of us who barely know our Jigglypuffs from our Wigglytuffs appreciated the break too.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Day 8.091: One year in Maine

The first post on this blog (Day 7.091) included a trip to the beach and so did today - for me anyway.

I ran along nearly two miles of the sand as part of my run this morning.

A year of living at the seaside hasn't dented my enthusiasm for it.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Day 8.090: One and one at one

A year ago, I wrote the post that closed our time as residents of New York, but that's not important right now. Our time in Maine may be one year old, but we have other matters to attend to.

A week ago, I gave you a mystery photo challenge. If you'd like to play you can see it here. If you're ready for the answer, click here.

Here's another puzzle for you - can you recognise what Exile #3 made with her yet-to-be-deployed settlements, cities, roads and ships while we were playing Catan recently?

It's related to another family pastime.

The missing words were "solution", "puzzle" and "year" for you title-watchers.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Day 8.089: Did I sleep through summer?

Because it seems to be next winter already...

The snow continued until about noon, but didn't really get any deeper than this couple of inches, but still!  Even Exile #4, voted most likely to be delighted by snow in April, put it, "I was done with snow once the temperatures got up into the 60's."

So say we all.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Day 8.088: And one more eight!

Happy 8th Birthday to E5N1...

We had a good day - starting with lots of energetic ripping of wrapping paper from greatly appreciated gifts and concluding with cake and reading new books (including the latest of Exile #4's comic book creations that she has been making for E5N1 on his birthdays and Christmases for quite a few years).