Catching Up with a New Summer

Well, summer is officially upon us in New England, after a shaky and uncertain start. If ever more evidence was needed than this photograph, I am not sure.

So despite the fact that I have a couple more days of work at school, everything has taken a decidedly summer feel since Memorial Day. Even the grass seems to have excitedly come to life like never before, growing at a mutant-like pace, although I think that has to do with my wife’s tinkering with a secret chemical cocktail of fertilizing agents. That being said, the lawn has never looked better. Now all I need to do is wrap up school and some National Writing Project work for the real summer to start.

In fact, Ali and Hadley already kind of got started with Keri in the now annual Girls’ Trip 2011 (Version 4.0 in its current iteration I believe.). This time the three ladies headed north to the Green Mountains of Vermont for Ben and Jerry’s and Cabot Cheese tours among other sites. The slideshow below bears a nice witness to the trip.

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Since then we have had a lovely Mother’s Day. In fact, Hadley and I awoke early to make orange-cranberry muffins, only to discover that neither kids would eat them once they were baked. Hadley decided it was the cranberry that she opposed. Still, it was a beautiful day, rendering one of my favorite recent pictures of my girls.

This weekend Father’s Day arrived, which has been another lovely day. French toast and bacon for breakfast and a few small gifts made for a great morning. Yet even more impressive was my daughter’s second race on Saturday. Shortly after Ali and Keri ran a 5K, Hadley participated in a kids mini marathon for the second year in a row. Last year she did well, but was a little intimidated with all of the people and action surrounding her. This year, however, she performed wonderfully and very nearly beat everyone to the finish line, if not for slightly tripping over another little girl near the halfway point.

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Of course, none of us was worried about winning, but she was pretty impressive on the track. She certainly was proud of herself, although I think her mom and dad might have even been prouder.

Another Step Closer to Heartbreak

A few weeks ago my daughter came home from school with a flier for our town’s annual Daddy-Daughter Dance. Ali had been tipped off about the event at church earlier in the year, as Hadley’s Sunday school teacher was commenting how this year would be the first opportunity for the youngest of her four daughters who happens to be Hadley’s classmate. So, in some sense I knew I was doomed for a few months. Yet, nothing could quite prepare me for my three year-old chirping from her car seat that she really wanted to me to take her to the dance, that she was old enough, that she was “free and a big girl, and if you were free you were old enough to go.”

Photo: Ready for the Dance Photo: Father Daughter Dance 2011

Needless to say there was little doubt that this would be the first of many yearly expeditions with my lovely lass to the occasion. Despite any misgivings that I might have had about how young my daughter is and how I wish I could slow time just a little, Ali eased my anxiety and it became inevitable.

The next day, I arrived home with my daughter proclaiming how beautiful her new dress was, and how it was her favorite colors. Of course, the dress was already an essential part of what she what she was looking forward to about the evening. Her original plea even included, “I just want to go to the dance with you, Daddy, and wear a beautiful dress, and dance with you, and have Mommy paint my nails. I am not too little, Daddy.” As a result the heartbreak that has been well underway since the day she arrived in the world, cracked a little bit more even before we left for the dance.

Of course the day finally arrived last weekend. Even though there was a little chill in the air, we were able to get a couple of quality pics without too much trouble. As expected, Hadley wasn’t long for the actual dance. In fact, after a about forty-five minutes, she determined that it was far too loud. Perhaps more than anything she was ready to go to Friendly’s which was the plan for ending the evening.

So, our first dance turned out to be a quite a treat, complete with a chocolate dipped Peep sundae. Hadley was keen to make sure all the toppings were thoroughly sprinkled on the scoops of ice-cream. More than anything, I got the ultimate seal of approval when she offered to share the Peep with me, no small matter in the least.

Snow Day Three

Photo: Getting Pretty DeepSo today was another snow day, the third of the season. At this rate, I might be teaching right up to the Fourth of July. It was a good thing school was canceled, however, as the timing and amount of snow would have made for a remarkably treacherous trip this morning. We now have more snow than we have had in quite a few years that’s for sure. The first year I was in New England, 2004, was a one of the greatest snowfalls on record, but this year we will now doubt crack the top ten, if we haven’t already.

Photo: Eating Snow Photo: Stuck in a Snowbank

Photo: Hanging Out in the House

Three whopper storms in the last month have left left us with three-plus feet. With the winds and drifting, not to mention shoveling, the snow banks are easily rising beyond that. It is getting pretty challenging to throw the snow high enough off the driveway now too. Better still, we are supposedly going to get some more over the weekend. I am not sure where we are going to be able to put it, however much ends up falling. Fortunately, we have some nice neighbors with snowblowers on the street. If they are willing to help, throwing the new fall of snow might not be as challenging.

Photo: Kids Helping Clear the Driveway

The one thing about all the snow is that it is definitely fun. The kids love running around in it, as witnessed by the photos. Of course, the depth is now a whole lot more challenging for the two little ones, to be sure. Still, they love digging with the mini-shovel. Unfortunately, the snow hasn’t really been good packing snow. Thus, no great big snowmen. It has gotten so deep so fast, it isn’t even favorable for snow angels. Perhaps as things warm up a bit things will get a little easier for all that.

Photo: I'm Ready! Photo: No, I'm Ready!

While it’s always nice to have a day off, we did just start the new semester. Needless to say it has gotten out of the gate with a few stumbles in the last two weeks. I guess it will take a little longer to get the students back into a steady rhythm. Regardless, the son and daughter like it when dad is home all day. Plus, after being away from the family the last two weekends in a row, it has been a bit of treat to get some extra time at home.

Photo: Making Our Way to the Slide Photo; Is There Anybody Out There?