September and October 2019

Fall is really here! Everyone is deep into fall activities and our schedules are packed, albeit still with time for fun.

Robert has been enjoying the resumption of Friday morning parent coffeehours at the school.

Helen is loving every minute she gets to spend with Matilda at the Center. I recently explained to a friend that I am already mourning leaving it when Helen finishes in May/June--each kid has gone there, and in June it will be for a total of 6.5 years among them, so the place really does feel like an extension of home.

Also, this just in: Samantha is loving everything about second grade. /shock

Robert's softball season finished up late in September with an incredibly rainy game, but the cheering section was undeterred in their enthusiasm.

Marcus's class took a field trip to Spectacle Island for a geography project, and another time to Revere Beach for a beach clean-up service project. Next week they're going to Northeastern to do something STEM-y.

Uncle Michael and Aunt Nancy visited for a weekend from Minntesota when Mitch (the youngest of Robert's first cousins--Robert is the second-oldest, after Dave, of their generation) came out with his team, Northern Michigan University Wildcats, to play BU for two consecutive nights. It was the BU home opener, and also parents' and family weekend, so there was clearly a lot of home team spirit in the air, but we gamely decked ourselves out in green and yellow (even attempting some festive "wildcat" face paint), waved our foam fingers, and cheered for Mitch's team. "Go Mitch go Mitch go Mitch!" Helen would chant. His team tied Friday night and won Saturday, and they were both really exciting games. Sarah and Sean and Evie joined us all on Friday night, and we cheered together. Go Mitch!

Saturday we walked around Boston a little with Uncle Mike and Aunt Nancy; it was the Head of the Charles, and a gorgeous day, and we had a great time just being out and walking around.

Marcus spent a Saturday working toward his archery merit badge for Boy Scouts, and another Saturday helping his troop sink posts for some "Little Free Libraries" to be scattered around Roslindale during the two-year period their public library will be closed for renovations. Bows and arrows, post-diggers, and cement made for some pretty good weekend days.


We went to a poutine pop-up, courtesy of Air Canada--ten different kinds of poutine, all representing different Air Canada destinations ("Seoul" had popcorn chicken, kimchi, and spicy sauce, for example). Clearly, we tried them all. Another day, Marcus and Robert saw a movie with Robert's father and then went out for dinner and dessert with him,

One Saturday Marcus and Robert stopped at a Haitian restaurant in Mattapan. This is a before and after view of Marcus and his fish, with about fifteen minutes elapsed in between. You can see he didn't bother with any of the beans or much of the rice--he was too busy doing a great job on that fish!

One weekend Samantha and Helen went to Sabrina's 8th birthday party--cotton candy, bouncy house, a big yard, and lots of little girls to play with. Strangely, Marcus opted to stay with Thomas and Evan and their dad for the evening instead of joining us.

Marcus is looking so grown-up these days I can't believe it. Helen alternately looks so much bigger too, and then just like my little tiny baby again (especially when she falls asleep on my chest). It's been hat weather, off and on, with some really blustery days, and then it went back up to the high 60s again and has been beautiful playground weather--go figure!

On the day that Boston refuses to call Indigenous People's Day, we went with Sean and Evie to the Mary Baker Eddy Mapparium for free admission, the Boston Children's Choir, the Boston Poet Laureate, cupcakes, crafts, balloons, Bible trivia, face-painting, and fun.

Just before we left for the day, Samantha led a story hour and puppet show for Helen and Evie, while Marcus chilled on a pile of pillows with his book.

The following week, we celebrated 200 years of church-planting in Hawaii at church; Samantha's choir sang in Hawaiian, and I made trays of butter mochi, black sesame mochi, and decorated sugar cookies for the occasion.

After Robert's bike was stolen in August (boo!) he tried out a Spicy Curry for a few days. Though it was nice that Marcus could ride it, too, it seemed just a bit too small both for Robert as a rider and for the kids on the back, so he went back to a Mundo, though the newer version. Below right you see the new Mundo before we put on all the accessories. It's not quite the same as his old bike, though, which he refused to throw away the keys for, just in case it reappears someday.

We went out for shakin' seafood (crab legs, shrimp, baby clams, and crayfish, plus fried shrimp) with Sarah, Sean, and Evie, and Grandma and Pop-pop, and followed that with ice cream in Roslindale square.

It's just been a Roslindale month for us, I guess! With Debbie in town, we went to a little street festival with Sarah and Evie one day, and another day we took my parents and Thomas and Evan (what a horde we were!) to the Greek festival at the church there. Helen loved the chicken kebabs, reminding me that this event three years ago was when she had one of her first real meaty meals, eating lots of the lovely lamb from my plate.

Though Marcus takes the train to school by himself these days, Sarah has helped by dropping off Samantha when Robert is traveling and I have to teach. Sometimes even when Robert is here they just run into Evie on the subway, and Samantha can help her walk up the stairs and into her daycare. We all tried the new Jamaican place at Jackson Square out on Friday evening on our ways home--it was fantastic! From the meatpies to the shrimp and the goat, we loved it all and ate lots.

Helen started soccer, and loves it. It's the little-kid kind, of course, where everyone runs around with their own ball, but she's enthusiastic about it. Marcus did some soldering at a library fix-it clinic, trying to fix an old electric train we had that had stopped working. He succeeded!

Helen especially, but Samantha too, have spent every last minute possible outside in the afternoons and evenings, playing with friends on our block. One friend is moving at the beginning of November, sadly.

Marcus had a baseball "banquet" (pizza party at folding tables in Peters Park), and he also played his last games of Magic at the local comic book store, which closed on September 30th when they lost their lease.

With Sarah, Sean, and Evie, and Miriam, Garrison, and Clarinda, we went out to the Big E in Springfield for a daytrip one Saturday. While getting from our parking spot to 291 was nightmarish at 10:00 at night, we nevertheless had a great day. Evie and Helen loved the Farmarama "Little Farmers" exhibit, and we all saw the goat milking, the sheep shearing, the parade, the dog show, and the sheep dog demonstration. Marcus ate two giant corn dogs with pickles inside (really a hot-dog-stuffed pickle in corndog batter) over the course of the day, we got a positively silly amount of lemonade refills, and together we consumed one of the super giant Kettle Corn bags from behind the New Hampshire state house (our pick for best Kettle Corn). Sean got his bucket of cookies to pose with his tee shirt, and all the kids (except poor Evie, who was too small, even accompanied) got to go on some rides.

I am loving the late-summer/early-fall wildflowers that sprung up in our yard--that's what comes of copiously strewing seeds around early on and forgetting them, I guess!

And, funny story to close with: Helen and I were on the T coming home from school when an older woman, very nicely dressed in a long wool camel-colored coat, black pants, yellow knitted hat on her head, touched my arm and said "Excuse me, do you dress your daughter?"

I was mystified. There was no context, so I said, "Uh, sorry?" and tried desperately to think what she might mean.

"Did she pick out her outfit for herself," the woman clarified, "or did you choose her clothes for her?"

"Oh," I said, looking over at Helen's green and orange sneakers (hand-me-downs from Samantha), green and purple polka-dotted socks, grey leggings that she insisted on rolling up to be capri-length, and dark green dress with a colorful circus print on it. "Yep, I dressed her."

"Well that's wonderful!" the woman said, "and when it's time for her to dress herself, I'm sure she'll have a wonderful sense of style, just like her mother! Just look"--she continued, gesturing at me--"like mother, like daughter!"

I looked down at myself too, rather doubtfully--I had on these navy blue Crocs with pink and green flowers on them that Robert said made me look like an old lady, with pink striped socks, a long green linen skirt my mother calls one of my "drippy" skirts, and a grey tee shirt with a picture of a bike on it. "Thank you," I said, "and have a nice day!" There was nothing else to say. We got off the train and walked home.


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Created: 10/30/19. Last Modified: 10/24/19.