October 31, 2010


Alden and Sophia reunited for Halloween. There was much embracing and kissing and insane amounts cuteness all around. They haven't seen each other for almost 2 months and I feel awful that I've kept them apart for so long. I blame my insane work schedule and a general lack of social organizational skills.
Alden and Sophia met in Boothbay Harbor for the Halloween parade and trick-or-treating downtown extravaganza. There were hundreds of kids and some really creative costumes. Alden had a bit of a hard time nailing down what he wanted to be. "A froggie and a fireman and a pumpkin" was his final decision, which left me scratching my head for ways to make his chimeric, but very earnest little dream come true. Karen made some fantastic animal heads for Kerstin and Geoff when they were kids and found a bunch of these in her attic, which included a frog. One down, two to go. I'm completely hopeless when it comes to handcrafted, lovingly sewn costumes, (or any sewing for that matter), and my free time has been nonexistent as of late, so I knew that making a firefighter's jacket was out of the question. I'd therefore resigned to shelling out cash for some tacky costume off the RiteAid seasonal rack or whatever, but I lucked out. Alden's school had one in their costume collection that his teacher let me borrow. Score!!

Two down, that left only the pumpkin. This part was easy. I figured I'd buy Alden one of those ubiquitous plastic Halloween pumpkin totes and call it done. While shopping for one, I found a tasteful felt pumpkin bag and figured I'd give him an upgrade.

So there you have it folks - a froggie and a fireman and a pumpkin. Kerstin and I wore matching Panda heads, courtesy of Karen circa 1976. Sophia was an adorable ladybug with a matching ladybug bag embroidered with her name - very high on the cuteness index!
The festivities started on the lawn of the Boothbay Harbor Library, and snaked through town, with merchants at every shop ready to fill Alden's bag with an amazing array of candies he never even knew existed. He was thunderstruck by the abundance and diversity of his haul. We don't let him eat candy, so this was more of an educational experience for Alden than we'd anticipated. Let's just say his horizons have been greatly expanded.
We've all learned that Alden really likes lollipops and peanut butter M&Ms. He's not fond of KitKats. We're not giving him gum, but other than that we'll probably let him sample everything and see what he thinks. He's a very particular eater, even (or especially!) when it comes to sweets, so I feel good knowing that he'll likely reject about half of his candies.

Checkin' out the ninja's stash.

The specter you see before is not some ghost of Halloween, but rather a very excited kid hopped up on sweeteners. I love that you can't even make out his feet in this image and it looks like he's literally flying. Alden was riding the sugar dragon pretty hard when we got home, but crashed hard too which made bedtime a relative breeze.
Happy Halloween!!

October 19, 2010

Aldens new bed

We decided that Alden should have his freedom in the mornings. He has been very patient with us coming to get him out of his crib, and on some level we have to ask ourselves why we are letting him let himself out in the AM. However he has started to climb up the inside and balance on the top of the frame.

Alden's crib has a removable crib-front, but was missing the mini-front that you replace it with (one of the problems of buying a crib at an auction for $5). It took us a few nights and an out-of-bed tumble to decide to place a board across the front. Yes, a little ghetto but Alden doesn't seem to mind and it functions well.

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Phytoplankton Pumpkin

Emiliania huxleyi jack-o-lantern. I'm really proud of how this one turned out. Are there any more suggestions for microbe-oriented pumpkin carvings?

October 18, 2010

Barbara Visits

My mom visited last week and interviewed for a job in Brunswick (she said it went well - fingers crossed!!) We also packed lots of activities into the 5 days while she was here. We spent a day in Portsmouth, where we saw a bunch of my Mom's friends, as well as my uncle, aunt and cousin.

It was a windy, but otherwise amazingly gorgeous day. After hanging out in Market Square for a bit, we walked around town, marveling at the eighty million or so coffee shops that seem to have sprung up over the past 10 years. We ate at my old high school stomping ground, the Friendly Toast, a dimly-lit campy 50's/60's romp that specializes in huge breakfasts and brunches. Eating there again would have made me all dewy-eyed over my lost youth if Alden hadn't sucked down a pint of whole milk in a little under 3 minutes, then puked it up all over the bathroom floor. Parental note number 543,347,699: children under 3 should not harness the awesome power of straw technology without strict supervision.It was lovely to see my family and walk around the town. When Alden went down for a nap, Kerstin developed this crowd-pleasing technique for blocking sun and wind. The backwards lean was an especially nice touch. On our way home, we stopped at L.L.Bean for some quick shopping. Alden really likes the elevators in that store. He calls it "L-On-Bean". That really cracks me up for some reason.Alden and my Mom at the state museum.
We also went to the Pumpkin Regatta in Damariscotta. The whole town (seriously!) grows giant pumpkins competitively, first for bragging rights, then for carving contests (including an underwater carving contest), demolition, and finally for building make-shift watercraft which are then raced in the harbor. The course takes boaters from the dock to a buoy in the middle of the harbor and back twice. There are paddle divisions, and motor divisions, relay and solo races. It's pretty insane, or so I hear. We couldn't see over the mob of people who lined the shoreline. We tried to let Alden watch by carrying him on our shoulders, but he got fidgety and cranky instead. We left before the real fun started, sadly. Interested parties can watch some random clips from this year's race on YouTube here and here. Pumpkin boat designs were quite varied. Here's a basic model from the one race we got to see:
As you can see from above, there were many casualties of poor balast and or balance. Below is a more colorful craft. It was outfitted with a horn that played "Dixieland" and had a turning radius of, oh, 12,000 ft -- awesome is the only word I have to describe it.It was really nice to have my Mom out for a visit. We saw lots of people, went to some great events and ate some great food!

October 12, 2010

Pumpkin Fun

My mom visited us this week and we carved pumpkins with Alden. This is the first time I've done this in like twenty years. She made the cat, I made the bacteriophage. Alden liked blowing out candles.