Home again, home again.

Well, we've finally made it back from our foray into the woods of western Maine. We had a wonderful time catching up with old friends and watching Nick and Alli get married. The foliage was spectacular- everywhere you looked was a burst of color. Unfortunately, I was a little too busy to take time out for scenery pictures. We arrived late Friday afternoon for the rehearsal (during which a moose walked across the lawn! I missed it.) and then joined everyone for the rehearsal dinner in the clubhouse. Shane had a great time visiting with his college buddies. Megan and I had fun sitting back and watching all of them laugh and joke with each other as if it hadn't been three or four years since they last had seen one another. We woke up to a dry Saturday morning- a big deal, since rain had been forecast up the entire East coast. I headed up to the lodge to assemble and decorate the cake while everyone else went on a hike. The wedding took place that afternoon and was beautiful. The rain held off (just barely) and they were able to have their ceremony outdoors. It really was a perfect weekend, and unfortunately I don't have a ton of pictures. We were smart enough to think ahead and ask Hayley and her friend Majel if they would come along as our babysitters. Thank goodness we did! Poor Hayley and Majel (and Nora) had to endure some pretty rough screaming, but Shane and I got to really enjoy ourselves, by ourselves (and 100 other guests). It was pretty exciting for us seeing as this was the first time in, oh, fifteen and a half months, that we really went on a 'date' of sorts.
Congratulations to Nick and Alli, the newlyweds who are now spending their honeymoon in Canada, and on to the pictures!
Before I even started to make the cake, I had to make a batch of lemon curd. A big batch.

Poor Nora definitely suffered a little child neglect the week before the wedding as I tried to be a parent and a baker. You know your parenting skills are lacking when you give your child the trash can as a toy- and she finds it more exciting than you.

Here we have one of the four batches of Italian buttercream whisking away. I tell ya, I was very impressed that my Kitchenaid lasted throughout this process- when you have to beat each batch for at least 25 minutes to cool it to room temperature, you get a little nervous.
Here we have Nora once again entertaining herself by taking her frog to the bathroom.
Enough said.
Jump ahead to the day of the wedding. I was standing way in the back and had forgotten my zoom lens. I snapped a shot of the groomsmen before Alli came down the aisle and noticed one of them being a smart-alec. Guess who?
Here comes to bride- looking gorgeous! And can I just add how pretty I think Alli's mom is? If I looked that good now I'd be happy!
This is Eliott. (I'm not sure that's how you spell his name, though.) He began the day looking adorable in his little ring bearer's suit. By the time the dancing started he had gotten rid of the jacket and vest. Later I noticed the shirt unbuttoned and coming off. By the end of his night he was running and dancing around in a diaper. So cute!
The kiss, from very far away and then cropped. Not a great photo, I know, but I never claimed to be a real photographer.
This is Chris, Megan's husband, and their son Gavin. We all went to college together (and Megan and I have known each other since we were little kids.) Isn't this picture sweet? This guy had never held a baby before his own, but I think he's taken to it pretty naturally, don't you?
This is one of the only shots I took of the bride and groom. I'm telling you, I was a little too preoccupied with the excitement of getting to spend an evening 'out'. We really owe Hayley and Majel.
Once the florist decorated the cake I wasn't quite so concerned with all the flaws I saw in it.
This is Nora rocking out with her kazoo on the way home. Majel caught this shot and I absolutely love it. It's so Nora.
This shot is from yesterday, when we came to my parent's house to hang out with Camella (and utilize their wireless!) The weather was typical Maine fall- amazing!
A final parting shot for you all to enjoy- anyone want to guess what that stain is? I don't!


The Fair!

Well, once again one of our favorite weekends of the year has come and gone. We had a wonderful time exploring everything the fair had to offer, including the farmer's market, environmental awareness area, animals, food, children's area, crafts and much, much more. Often I wish we had a few more hours to check out all the cool booths and activities. Of course, it didn't help that because we rode our bikes to the fair we didn't arrive until 12:30! In any case, on to the pictures, and there are a lot!
A majority of the fair was spent eating. Eating baked potatoes, Indian food, barbecue chicken, ice cream, crab rolls, pie cones, french fries, apple-honey buns and more. We LOVE eating at the fair, and it's all organic and often local. Yum!
You can't quite tell, but in the next picture Nora is inhaling all of Kalen's chicken masala.

Nora and Kalen spent a bit of time horsing around. Somehow her pants came off; this happens when you only weigh twenty pounds...
Wylie was appropriately dressed for the fair! A homemade hat from a friend, a homemade sweater knit by Tara, organic cotton pants and homemade booties knit, once again, by Tara. So cute!
Shane and I took Nora over to the children's area, where she immediately started to boogie to the music.

There was no question that we had to partake in the photo op:

There isn't really anything special about this next picture; Nora just looks so funny to me with her big, chunky diaper butt sticking out.
Now this is a special picture that I'm sure Kalen will treasure for years to come. As soon as Tara and I spotted this little crack we couldn't stop pointing and laughing. Don't worry; she fixed his pants as soon as I took the picture and he never knew. (Or at least he never really cared.)
Here is one of our favorite desserts, Indian Pudding! We love this cornmeal based pudding (with molasses and spices). It doesn't get much better when you top it with sauteed apples and whipped cream!
Here Dad enjoys some pudding while Mom tries to warm up with her hot carob as the sun goes down. The fair doesn't allow any caffeine, refined sugars or non-organic items for sale to eat. As a result- no coffee or chocolate! Bummer, but we're willing to take the sacrifice for all the other great products.

Here we have Mom taking on my challenge to put on her long underwear shirt under the shirt she's wearing without taking anything off first or exposing herself. She did it like a pro.
Here's an arm's length picture of Shane and I. We have a whole series of these going from our time in college, in the Caribbean and at my first (and only so far) Red Sox game.
And a final parting shot of some of my favorite people- Dad, Mom (pushing Nora) and Shane on our way out of the fair. We had a wonderful day being together (along with Tara, Josh, Kalen and Wylie, not pictured) but missed one important person- Hayley! Don't miss this next year, Hay! It's too much fun!


Harvest Time and Horses

Nora and I have been staying with my parents the past few days while we hang out with Camella and get ready for the Common Ground Country Fair. As a result, I've had access to wireless internet which has been awesome but definitely eye opening. I think it's a good thing we don't have it at the apartment. I spend too much time on the computer when I can lay in bed at night and cruise to my heart's content! Last weekend we picked a half bushel of apples and in the days before we came up here I made and canned twelve half-pints of apple butter. Of course, when you're in the middle of canning you can't exactly give all your attention to a little one running around. Poor Nora, she was so tired she was stumbling around, knocking on the bedroom door to have a nap. I was right in the middle of pouring hot apple butter into sanitized jars, so I was trying to convince her to wait a few minutes. Being the independent girl she is, she took matters into her own hands, grabbed her pacifier and crawled onto the futon for her nap. (She loves having covers over her head lately. In fact, as I write this she's just fallen asleep beside me with her favorite blanket thrown over her face.)Once we arrived at my parent's house on Tuesday we headed over to the local farm stand (and, not coincidentally, Camella's house.) We trade babysitting for produce and I love 'shopping' at the farm stand. This week we got, from left, yellow onions, spring mix, a couple red peppers (Nora ate the other on the way home), a cucumber, garlic, cherry tomatoes, red potatoes, zucchini, broccoli, squash and soybeans. Yum! That night for dinner Nora ate cucumber, red pepper, steamed broccoli, steamed soybeans and squash. She wouldn't touch my lentil burger though. What a weirdo...
Yesterday we took a trip over to the barn where Nanny keeps her horse, Maggie May. (Or is it Mae? Anyone know?) Nora and I hung out with the pumpkins until Maggie was groomed and ready to go.
I tried to get some shots of Maggie in the barn and then in the indoor arena, but it was getting dark and I wasn't sure how she would like the bright flash. Nora loved patting Maggie but she enjoyed climbing on the mounting block even more. She figured out how to climb to the top and stand up without anyone helping her. I'm preparing myself for the day she decides to jump!
Nora also found something else at the stable she really loved. I wish I could say it was another horse, or at least a barn cat, but no, it was horse poop. She really enjoyed pointing it out wherever she could find it, and in one paddock there were copious amounts of it. She was in heaven. (And yes, she really is getting excited about horse poop in this picture. Obviously, she's related to Hayley. And her Nanny, now that I think about it, who used to roll down the automatic windows and lock them when we drove by the local dairy farm so she could smell the cow poop. I think that constitutes child abuse, don't you?)
We did get Nora on Maggie for approximately nine seconds. I think we'll have to keep trying, though, if we want to project Nanny's hopes and dreams as a child onto Nora and turn her into the Olympiad we know she can be. (Just kidding, Nanny!) This picture was taken right before Nanny lead Maggie away and Grampy grabbed Nora before she fell off. There was a slight lack of communication there; Nanny thinking they were going for a walk, Grampy thinking they were standing still for a picture.
Well, we hope everyone has a great weekend. We will be sure to take plenty of pictures at the fair, as it is one of our favorite events of the year after Christmas. (Although it might be Shane's favorite event of the year.) See you next week!


Hold on to your ovaries, everyone...

That is, if you have ovaries. This post will be just a bit baby crazy, but what can you expect? A new baby in the family, a new brother for Kalen, a new cousin for Nora; a montage of pictures will inevitably follow.
Nora and I spent a few days with Tara, Josh, Kalen and Wylie. We visited, ate, held the baby, and tried to occupy Kalen. He had other ideas, however, and once the excitement of the new baby had worn off, in say, twelve hours, he was ready to have his mom back. It will be an adjustment period for sure, but nothing that every new big sibling doesn't go through. Kalen at least is relatively gentle with Wylie. I can imagine Nora ripping out a chunk of a new baby's hair... I think we'll give her a little (lot) more time to grow up before she gets her little brother or sister. For now, on to the pictures! They're self-explanatory- just plain adorable!
And because I can...
Have a great weekend!


He's here!

I can't post photos yet as I'm not at home, but I just wanted to write a quick note to let everyone know that my sister, Tara, gave birth to her second baby boy this morning. She called me around 3:30 this morning, I arrived at 4:30 and little Wylie Clark was born at exactly 5:30am! He is 7 lbs, 9 ounces and 19 inches. It was a quick, underwater labor at home (5 hours!) but not surprising, considering that Kalen arrived in 5 1/2 hours! Congratulations to the family and their newest addition! Pictures to follow soon!



I forgot to thank Aunt Carole for the fantastic dress that Nora is wearing! I had only brought a couple casual sundresses to choose from and Carole showed up with the perfect party dress. Thank you, Carole! Nora received so many compliments throughout the night and will most definitely be wearing it to Nick and Alli's wedding at the end of the month!

Welcome, September!

Although Fall isn't officially here, (we'll wait until the 22nd for that) we are getting very excited around here. For us, Fall means apple picking, cool weather bike rides, the changing rainbow of colors on the trees, Halloween, making apple butter, simmering mulled cider on the stove and going to The Common Ground Country Fair! (Our favorite, if you can't tell.) I absolutely love this time of year, as does Shane. Fall also means the onset of the school year, and as such, Shane is back at work, not that he really slowed down this summer. If anything, we're getting back into a routine of dinners at home together (most nights) and weekend mornings enjoying each other's company. This past weekend was a little different, however, as we had the opportunity to spend time with the extended family on Shane's side. Shane's cousin, Meg, was getting married, so we all headed to Bar Harbor for the extended weekend.
This is Shane's sister, Ashleigh, and her boyfriend Nate. My goal this weekend was to get a shot of the two of them that looked semi-normal. I'm not sure I managed. I did get a shot of him unconsciously doing the 'blue steel' pose.Now, on to the subject of the wedding- Nora!Just kidding, had to sneak that one in there! Meg's wedding was SO beautiful, from the amazing view of the ocean, to the gorgeous flowers to the amazing wedding party- And of course, the bride!
It was also so very sweet. The couple wrote their own vows and it was all they could do to get through them. I have to admit, most of us didn't actually hear the groom's vows- he might have been a tiny bit choked up...Of course, I had to snap a few pictures of all the effort put into this affair-the amazing table settings,a visually appealing salad (and it was delicious!),and everyone's favorite, the cake- so cool! (And so Meg!)
Of course, while I was busy snapping away all of these pictures, my favorite husband was busy chasing the little trouble-maker around. We did manage to get her to sit still for a few moments for pictures:With Grandma, who loved getting to spend some time with her favorite granddaughter. (Yes, and only granddaughter!)
and with Grandpa and Great-Grandma as well. Four generations pictured here! (I'm not really sure why Shane made Grandma hold his beer...)And a final pic of Nora- this was right before she decided she was done with the whole wedding thing (and was also very tired) and had a little meltdown. Oh well, can't expect too much out of a fourteen month old!