Monday, August 29, 2011

First Day of 2nd Grade

New school year, new back-drop for the first-day-of-school picture. Here are the girls, in front of our new house, ready to embark on the walk to school. This year's to/from school jaunts are a little different for Julia. She will walk with us in the morning, and she has three choices for the afternoon: walk, ride in the wagon or ride her tricycle. Our new house is still 0.4 miles away from Evelyn's elementary school, and our walk still takes us past the forested creek area. We didn't see any wildlife this morning, but I'm sure we'll be spotting beavers and great blue herons before too long.
This year family members could go inside the school to accompany the students to their classrooms (we weren't able to do that last year). Here's Evelyn at her locker - she doesn't have to share this year, which made her pretty happy.
Since Evelyn said it was okay, Julia and I also went inside Evelyn's classroom with her. Here's the new 2nd-grader, putting away her school supplies.
And now she's all ready to go! From what she told me this afternoon, her first day was a little boring (all those rules that teachers need to talk about), but it went well. Here's hoping the rest of the school year goes well, too!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Rosie and the Wood Floors

Rosie's favorite thing at the new house: wood floors. Her felt ball (pictured below) and her toy mice (made of cloth) slide so much easier on the slick floors. She wants to play fetch several times a day. She loves to chase after the ball and bat it around, then she brings it back to me, carrying it in her mouth. She drops the ball at my feet and waits for me to throw it toward the other end of the house.

Hurricane Irene

About five days ago it became apparent that Hurricane Irene was headed our way. Some reports said it would be a category two hurricane by the time it hit the Maryland coast. Even though we live about 100 miles inland, a large hurricane like this one could still do some serious damage.

Thankfully Irene was only a category one when it made landfall in Ocean City. What did that mean for us? It rained all day Saturday. The wind didn't pick up until shortly after midnight last night, and it was still breezy this morning. We did lose power, but only for twelve hours.

Irene's arrival made the first day of school - tomorrow - a maybe, since several neighborhoods and schools sustained serious damage. Thankfully Evelyn's school has power, so she will be able to start 2nd grade tomorrow. Whew!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Back at the Old Place

What did the girls do while Troy and I tied up loose ends at the old townhouse last night? Evelyn and Julia watched episodes of Shaun the Sheep on YouTube. Rosie continued to bring up toys from her stash in the basement. She has one of her toy mice in the picture below -

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Moving Day

Today was the big day - moving a whopping two blocks to our new house. The movers showed up around 8:30 this morning, and they had everything moved into the new place by 1:30. We have been donating and selling extra things (including furniture) the past week and a half, which certainly lightened the load.After the movers were done and gone, here's what my kitchen looked like. Our family of four cannot survive without a functioning kitchen, so unpacking this mess was my priority this afternoon. How did it turn out? Two words: mission accomplished.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

5.8 Earthquake

I felt my first earthquake today, and it was something else! We girls were playing at a splash park - think of a (concrete) area with sprinklers and mini geysers. Julia and Evelyn had stopped playing to have a snack, so they were sitting on their towels on the ground. I was sitting on a bench, but my bare feet were on the ground.

Next thing we know, we felt these vibrations from the ground. At first we all thought it was a big truck driving by, but then the rumbling didn't stop. Plus, as I looked around, the picnic bench, table and umbrella were all moving, AND the fence around the splash park was moving, too! It was such an odd sensation - like nothing I've ever felt before.

We were with a few friends, and one of the moms is from California. She quickly confirmed that we were feeling an earthquake...and she thought it was all very exciting. Actually, I did too. We were in a relatively safe place - outside, not around any buildings or tall structures. Troy felt it at work, too, and he said the shelves in the lab were rocking back and forth. Our next-door neighbor (who works in DC) said pictures from the walls and light fixtures from the ceilings were falling down, so it must have been stronger east of us.

Oh, and we had California mom go try and shake the fence, because we wanted to see how much force it would take to do that. She couldn't get it to budge. Earthquakes are pretty amazing!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Packing Time

As we started packing the house today, I came across a box large enough to hold all of the girls. Should we let the movers load them on the truck, too?

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Paint, Paint, Paint

Evelyn is a good helper when it comes to painting. She helps me trim the corners with the paint brush, following me with my spongy trimmer tool.
She also rolls paint well. She does the middle section, and then either Troy or I follow her and do the top and bottom of the wall. These pictures were taken in Evelyn's new room, but Evelyn also helped me paint Julia's room (pink, of course). Thanks for the help, Peanut!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Closing Day

We closed on the new house this morning - it's officially ours! We girls couldn't wait to get into the new place, so we went over there this afternoon and took a load a toys. That way the girls can play in the basement while Troy and I work on painting this weekend.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Take My Picture, Mommy!

The girls wanted me to take their pictures this morning...

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Garlic-Lime Marinade

Tonight we tried a new marinade on pork chops, and it was delicious. This garlic-lime marinade would probably taste really good on chicken, too.

Garlic-Lime Marinade
1/4 cup olive oil
2 teaspoons lime zest
1/4 cup lime juice
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

I used three limes, and I think I got about the right amount of lime zest and lime juice that the recipe called for. Evelyn whisked the ingredients together, we poured it in a Ziploc bag with one pound of pork chops, and Troy grilled it. All of that family teamwork resulted in a delicious dinner...even Julia ate a bite!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Last Day at the Beach

Today was our last day at the beach. We couldn't have asked for better weather this week. It never rained during the day all seven days we were in Delaware, and it was super sunny most days.
The girls let us "plant" them in the sand like trees. They especially thought it was funny to get up out of their holes and walk away - they were walking trees!
Evelyn was brave this year and took on some (small) waves with Troy. She jumped some of the waves on her own, with Troy vigilantly at her side. Other times, like in the picture below, Troy helped lift her up so she could easily clear the top of the wave.

Kite Flying

A gentle and constant breeze was blowing this afternoon, which made it easy for the girls to fly their kite. I'll let the following pictures tell their own story:

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Fenwick Island Critter Spotting

To borrow a phrase from Kat, here is a critter spotting post from Fenwick Island...

Every day we were at the beach, we saw at least one osprey catch a fish right out of the ocean. I was able to get a decent picture of this one because the fish it caught was so heavy. Look how huge that fish is! It really slowed down the osprey's flight.
Dolphins were a common sight right off the shore. Again, it was difficult to get a picture of more than the dolphins' fins, but I managed to get two good shots. You can see the head in this picture...
...and this dolphin was jumping out of the water! I was zoomed out about 58-times with my camera, and I just kept taking multiple pictures of the same group of dolphins. I had no idea what I had captured until I uploaded the pictures. These two pictures were a pleasant surprise.
Naturally, there were lots of seagulls hanging out at the beach. I liked this guy because he seemed so dignified and stately. He was also kind enough to pose for a picture.
Another tricky animal to capture with a camera is a sandpiper. Sandpipers move SO quickly, digging up their food before a wave comes. I got lots of blurry pictures of moving sandpipers, but I was able to snag this bird in a rare moment of stillness. I'm glad I got a picture of one because the girls really like sandpipers - they scurry around the beach, peeping and running away from the waves.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Beach Days

Our typical beach schedule:

8:30 - Eat breakfast
9:00 - Put up Evelyn's and Julia's hair (braids, pigtails), slather on sunblock
10:00 - First round at the beach
12:30 - Lunch
1:30 - Chess for Evelyn and Troy . . .
. . . and nap-time for Julia
4:00 - Second round at the beach
6:00 - Showers and supper
7:30 - Sunset walk on the beach
8:30 - Bedtime

Tuesday, August 9, 2011


Last year, I read about Funland, a kiddie amusement park on Rehoboth Beach's boardwalk, in my Frommer's travel book. But we didn't think Julia was quite old enough for it then. This year? She was more than ready for carnival rides!

We bought 90 tickets for $20. Most of the rides we went on cost one, two or three tickets. Do the math, and you'll realize what a bargain this place is. First up was the Carousel, which we all rode.
Then Troy and Evelyn went on a super-fast car ride (Crazy Dazys), while I watched Julia ride the Fire Engines. Both girls went on the Sky Fighters, where they thoroughly enjoyed shooting targets from their airplanes. Evelyn and I next tackled two thrilling rides: the Paratrooper (pictured below) and the Sea Dragon. Evelyn really enjoyed the Paratrooper, even though it was high and fast. The Sea Dragon? That was a little too exciting for her.
While Evelyn and I were on the "big kid" rides, Troy and Julia rode the Big Trucks, and then Troy watched Julia ride the Boats and the Swinger (swings that go round-and-round). Next up, Julia and Evelyn had fun driving this purple car...Julia particularly liked pressing the horn buzzer. That had the girls giggling like crazy.
Since Julia was tall enough, we all four went on a ride called Free Fall - the ride's carriage randomly shot up and then fell down. We really didn't know how Julia would react, so we were pleasantly surprised that she LOVED it. She laughed the entire time. Julia and Evelyn liked the Free Fall so much, we had to get in line and jump on for a second time.

Then Julia and Evelyn went on the Helicopters, with Evelyn controlling the height of their very own personal helicopter.
Next up for the girls was a Kiddie Wheel - they sat in a hot air balloon contraption that simply went (vertically) round-and-round.
Finally, to conclude our two-and-a-half hours at Funland, we all rode the Carousel one last time. If you do the math, we went on 13 different rides, totaling 35 rides for the four of us, and it only cost $20. The girls had a blast, and I'm sure we'll be back next summer.

Monday, August 8, 2011

More Beach Fun

Evelyn discovered some teeny-tiny clams this morning. They would get washed ashore, and then they would quickly burrow back into the sand. Evelyn would try to catch them before they disappeared into the sand, and then she would add them to the mini-habitat she had made in a small bucket.
Julia was happy as a clam, playing in the sand with her beach toys and bucket of ocean water.
Evelyn got to work on the base for another sand castle. She got the idea for building a smooth mound of sand from a picture book. After laying the foundation, Evelyn adds bricks, towers and various decorations.
We kindly asked a beach neighbor to take a family picture, and we somehow managed to get Julia to go down to the water's edge for the picture.
After supper, we went down to the beach for an evening walk. I had heard that the natural light right before sunset is great for pictures. After looking at the shots I got of the girls, I have to agree.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

First Full Day at the Beach

Here are some highlights from our first full day at the beach:

Even with six-foot waves, Evelyn still braved going into the ocean. She only went knee-deep, though.
Julia didn't want to get too close to the ocean by herself. Even when she was several feet away from the water, she would squeal and run away when a wave approached the shore.
Troy and Evelyn built sand castles, while Julia supervised.
Evelyn then put the finishing touches on the structure.
Evelyn's wish? To play at the beach as much as possible. By logging about five hours at the beach, her wish was granted today.

Fractured Prune Donuts

When traveling, it has become tradition to hit local donut shops. The Fractured Prune originated in Ocean City, Maryland, which is just a hop, skip and a jump from our Fenwick Island condo. Evelyn and I battled the crowds this morning to pick up a dozen donuts. Your donuts are made-to-order, and we ordered quite a variety of toppings.
Julia preferred the donuts with sprinkles, but she isn't too picky when it comes to hot, fresh donuts.