Move Over Mary Poppins!

The real life adventures of one nanny, her husband, child, dogs, house, and whatever else crosses her path.

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Location: MA, United States

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Tuesday, May 29, 2007

DeCordova Museum

O&I headed off to enjoy a free visit (thanks to Bank Of America's Museums on Us program) to the DeCordova Museum and Sculpture Park this morning. It's only about a half hour from Beacon Hill, and with the weather so perfect, it was a great opportunity. He's just young enough not to be bored by a quick museum jaunt, and old enough to find some of the outdoor sculptures intriguing.

We wandered the sculpture park for a while before going into the museum, so we could check out the rooftop terrace, and the kinetic sculpture room (rumored to be best for the under three set). A stop outside on the terrace for a snack fortified us for another wander through the park. O was praticularly interested in the water feature and the musical fence. (Equally interesting were the guy on the commercial lawnmover and the group of school kids touring the park - it's good to be two!)

He was asleep before we even got back to the 5-way stop in the center of Lincoln. By the time we got back to Beacon Hill, he was ready for some tricycling before lunch. To add to the excitement, when we went inside for lunch, Nana dropped in for a visit. A quick lunch and some energetic stack-and-destroy games rounded out the morning, and he dropped off to sleep pretty quickly - hopefully with visions of contemporary art swimming behind his eyes...

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Sunday, May 27, 2007

Simple Pleasures

Sometimes I wonder if science and technology are hurtling the human race towards imminent destruction, despite longer lifespans and hybrid cars and vaccinations, but let me tell you, I love me some wireless internet!

It's quarter to twelve on a Sunday morning, and I'm taking a break from housekeeping to check my email, etc (and blog, obviously). While I accomplish these tasks, I'm listening to iTunes, sitting at the table on my deck, while the dogs play in the backyard.

My brother-in-law is due in the next little while, and I really should be vacuuming the carpets upstairs (eeew, cat hair!) and dusting the guest room, just incase he stays over, but the temptation to just stay out here (maybe even blog in the hammock!) is pretty strong.

Later, we're heading up to Stow (MA, no "E," no ski) for the pig roast we've been crashing for five years now, courtesy of our pals, the Morgans.

Right now, I'm pretty content. Mild weather, wireless internet, dogs frolicking in a decent looking yard, an afternoon ahead full of friend and food, babies and picnicking. Good stuff.

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Friday, May 25, 2007

Fight the Man: Read Free Blogs!

My pal at TravelGator is moving. I'm sending TravelGator a big bag of puppy poop. Read him here (with photos!):

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Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Shopping Sucks...

When you're shopping for health care, that is.

I am a lucky, lucky nanny. I have full health coverage through my employers (and a sweet parking garage pass), and am only required to contribute the cost of adding Mark onto my policy, which makes health care a happy reality for our little family-to-be. This year, with the rising costs of health care, our premiums nearly doubled, leaving me wondering, "What else is out there?"

So, I've been doing the research, and somehow the options are getting more and more confusing, especially with the Commonwealth's new mandatory coverage laws going into effect. There's a scramble at the HMOs to present eleventy more plans, so as to be able to milk hard earned money from everyone, no longer only from the priviledged few. Add in the difference between Mark being the primary insured (putting us in a pool with all the other self-employed types), or me being the primary insured, and paying rack rates for coverage.

And now we have this blessed event to consider. An individual coverage plan for the baby? A family plan? The answer seemed obvious to me, but I was wrong... And in the meanwhile, as I ponder the options and work out the budget, a heftier chunk of my paycheck goes to our old company, now that the rate increase has gone into effect. I can almost hear the money flying out of my wallet.

Blue Cross? Fallon? Midwest? Neighborhood? Harvard Pilgrim? Tufts? United?

It's enough to put a girl in the hospital...

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Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Juice, Toothpaste, and A Monkey

O likes to pretend to go shopping. He slings on a bag, grabs his primary-colored play grocery cart, asks for imaginary money, and heads off. He likes it when I tell him what he should buy. This morning, I said, "O, what are you going to get at the store?"

He said, "Juice."

I added, "And toothpaste?" He nodded, "Uh huh."

I added, "And a monkey?" He nodded, "Uh huh."

It reminded me of an old Sesame Street skit with a kid going to the store for milk, and a stick of butter, and something else... It was a long time ago.

He came back in a few minutes later, and when I asked him, "Did you find everything at the store? Juice, toothpaste, and a monkey?" he said, "Uh huh."

I wonder did he go to pretend Super WalMart? Where else can you find all of those items?


Monday, May 21, 2007

Law Review

Yesterday was LB's graduation party, so Mark and I packed up a cake and headed 150 miles up the coast to Falmouth, ME. I heart the PYC.

I promised her a review of her behavior at the party in recognition of her being the Grand Poohbah of the Law Review, and here it is: She was charming, gracious, just a little bit goofy, and was altogether the LB we all know and love. She wore a pretty dress and heels, and her hair was all stylish and chic. We here at MoMP, who are feeling frumpalicious and pregnant, were most envious. Her husband and son, both in attendance, did her credit. Her family and in-laws provided a tasty spread, and her dear friend, Me, made a scrumptious lemon and raspberry cake (if I do say so myself). Maine was at best neutral, providing neither sunshine, nor outright foul weather, but occasionally the fog on the harbor rolled out enough to allow for excellent views of boats already moored. All in all, we give LB's graduation party a vigorous two thumbs up.

Now all she has to do is graduate!

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Wednesday, May 16, 2007

The Saddest Little Sight

I was on the way back from parking the Volvo just a while ago with O and Miss E in tow, carrying a full load of grocery bags, when I saw a robin's egg split open on the edge of the street. I stopped the kids, intending to point it out to them, "Oh, look, guys! A robin's egg. Maybe there's a nest in the tree above us?"

Then, as I looked closer, what I'd thought was a bit of pink gum on the pavement turned out to be the former inhabitant of the egg. It was clearly not supposed to be hatched yet, and was squirming there on the ground. I diverted the kids, but I was too stunned to move for a minute.

What was the right thing to do? Leave it there to die? Kill it quickly? It wasn't going to rescued; birds aren't like that... In the end, I walked away, a little queasy, and very sad.

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Long Live the Gilmore Girls!

I usually leave the TV related posting to Legally Blonde, but I'm a huge fan of Stars Hollow, CT, and its odd inhabitants, and I'm feeling a little adrift at the thought of an empty Tuesday evening...

I haven't felt this sad at a shows demise since the the series finale of West Wing, which feels like a million years ago (although, if I'm being honest, I did get a little weepy when the Doctor had to say goodbye to Rose at the end of this last season of Doctor Who...)

I will say this, it was just about the best ending I could imagine. Bittersweet, not taking itself too seriously, and still full of the quick wit and utter foolishness that I've always loved about the show. I may also forever be scarred by the idea of a Babette, Maury, Lorelei sandwich. Heeheehee...


Friday, May 11, 2007

Neighborhood Watch

It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood.

I had the afternoon off from toddler wrangling, while the family traveled to NYC for a back tie family wedding. I came home to the melodic sounds of Mark taking apart the house. Now that the new extended fence is in place, and the leaves, debris, and other foolishness is off to the dump, the house is starting to look just a little less white trashy (just ignore the blatant lack of front door, please? Sorry, Ar, you missed the house in full ghetto mode....). I like that. So, like a good nosy neighbor, I took the dogs out for an hour long march around our 'hood to check out what everyone else is doing to their houses this spring.

In general, friends, things are looking up, especially in the hideous home exterior category. Around the corner from the far end of our street was a garrison colonial painted a color best described as electric lilac. It had indigo shutters and a magenta door. I absolutely shit you not. Well, as Maurice, Amelie and I passed this house today, imagine my surprise when it had been almost entirely repainted since Tuesday evening! It's now a charming, buttery cream with oyster off-white trim. The magenta door is still there, but that can stay as a testament to what was...

Our new next door neighbors still haven't moved in. (Must be nice to be able to afford a mortgage and rent...) They are slowly repainting and meeting with contractors (and *why* haven't they called Mark? They know he's a contractor and they know he's done work on the house....), and leaving me to speculate on the important things; such as, which of the cars that come and go belong to the two of them? The Jetta? The Beamer? The Mazda MVP? (One of these things is not like the other... LaLaLa...)

On the other side, the Changs have finally moved the debris from last year's grisly apple tree massacre in order to erect a plastic shed, which looks, if possible, worse than our rotting wooden one.

And, as regards the modular colonial sitting on a tiny, steeply graded corner lot up the street from us, which is on the market for upwards of $600,000, should you be interested (ugh!), we watched a highly amusing event. Several men gathered to watch a single guy dig holes for, plant, back fill, and water 15 Arbor Vitaes along the ridge of the property, ostensibly for privacy and noise screening. But it seriously took five or six seemingly able bodied men to watch one guy do all this work. On a house that's overpriced by at least 100K and has been on the market since last fall sometime, as far as I can tell.

The house directly behind us appears to be vacant again, for the second time this calendar year. Maybe we're driving them away?

Won't you be my neighbor?

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Thursday, May 10, 2007

Where Is That Pesky Spoonful of Sugar?

I know this is an old refrain, after the Steve Guttenberg post of two weeks ago, but I am freshly annoyed by my Arch Nemesis: The Housekeeper!

(This is all so Upstairs/ Downstairs ... seriously, the drama between the housekeeper and the nanny to which the entire family is happily oblivious? Sheesh. I embarrass me.)

O loves the vacuum cleaner. Loves. It. So when the housekeeper has the vacuum out, he always wants to do some of the vacuuming. Imagine here a 3 foot tall toddler wielding a Miele canister vac like a seasoned pro... Anyway, today, she told him he had to finish his lunch before he could play, because she saw three pieces of hot dog left on his plate. What she didn't know was, I had made him 2 hot dogs and he'd eaten half an ear of corn on the cob already. I had told him that he was all done, cleaned him up, and let him get down from his chair to play. She insisted he finish all his hot dog, and so he came into the dining room looking like he carried the weight of the world, and pointed at his hot dog, then the vacuum. I said, "Are you hungry?" He shook his head no, so I popped the 3 pieces of hot dog in my mouth, and said, "All done!" just to get her off his back.

I know I should say something. I know secretly whining about her in my blog isn't up to my strong, Aries woman character, but it's not like I'm out to get her fired or anything. Also, I'm the messenger between her and the Bosses, since they never see her, so, that's awkward.

I'm trapped by my own lack of confrontation skillz. It's brutal.

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Bad Dog; Good Morning

Amelie began the morning at 5:50, when she started barking to be let out of her crate. This is not something we encourage, but it's proving difficult to find a good preventative strategy. Sometime between 6:35 and 6:50, she half swallowed a twist tie, which, with great dexterity, she removed from the TV cabinet. We use the twist ties around the knobs, to keep her out of the DVD player, etc... Serves us right, I guess. Mark extracted the twist tie, and came upstairs to let me know that the DVD/canine security system had been breached. In the three minutes he was upstairs, she pooped on the dining room floor. She hasn't done that since the first week she was home.


On the other hand, I got to see my favorite view of Boston this morning. Sadly, we were traveling at 55 MPH in heavy volume, so taking pictures would have been wholly irresponsible. As you come in on I90 there's a banking curve that follows the curve of the Charles, and the city rises up out of the trees that line the river. When the spring/summer morning light is right, the city is shrouded in mist and the light filters through the trees by the river.


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Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Cleaning BlogHouse

I just moved the relevant posts from the "Tales from the Scale" blog to MoMP. I just can't keep up posting in too many places. They are now located under the Knight Errant section of the blog.

Not that everyone should rush to read them. I'm just saying, is all.

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Friday, May 04, 2007


This morning I heard the baby's heartbeat. I am in awe.


Thursday, May 03, 2007

Getting A Baby!

Yesterday, that's how Miss E was announcing my pregnancy to anyone who would listen. It's kinda hilarious. Especially given that up until yesterday, she really hadn't said anything about it, even when I told them. She told several people down at the Ebersol Fields in just that fashion. Some people assumed she meant her mom was expecting again, and I was quick to disabuse them of that idea. She wanted to know if our baby would be her cousin, if it can hear her talk to it, and while she gets that it's growing in my tummy, she still figures we get it somewhere to bring home. I think I'll let their parents figure that conversation out...

It took her a few weeks to process the whole thing, but I'm certainly glad she's excited! Jack is still being cool. When their Mom asked what he thought about it, he said, "It's pretty cool." Then he went back to his video game. It's good to be eight.

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Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Lowcountry Weekend

La Famille MoMP headed south on Friday, to the Lowcountry, the Southeastern Coastal Empire, or whatever you like to call it. This was our last vacation before parenthood. Our Babymoon, as the pregnancy websites call it. What it was, was relaxing, and warm.

We departed Framingham at the arsecrack of dawn on Friday, and by 11 AM, we were in our rental PTCruiser, headed north out of Savannah/Hilton Head Airport on I-95 towards Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. I am a fan of SAV, let me tell you. The airport is small and quiet, clean and contemporary. The people were charming, the lines short. We had our rental car keys in hand before our luggage made it onto the conveyor.

We found the DVC resort on Hilton Head with only a minute hitch, and were able to check in early. The hitch landed us at the local Piggly Wiggly for tshirts and sustenance (we are now rolling "Big on the Pig" style!). On the advice of a tourist rag, we headed out to Sea Pines, a closed resort community at the southern tip of the island. We heard there was shopping and food there.

The Crazy Crab, in Harbourtown, was reminiscent of the Weathervane, especially their location in Kittery, ME, for those of you who know it. Lots of seafaring kitch, oddly enough, from New England, and a crab logo that loosely reminded me of the dancing clam at Harry's truck stop in Westborough, MA (perhaps his hillbilly cousin?). The She-crab soup, however, was quite tasty! After that, we ignored the impossibly touristy "shoppes" and grabbed some mint chocolate chip ice cream before we headed out. The lighthouse was apparently built as a tourist attraction, and was not an actual lighthouse. We didn't pay the admission fee. We are cynical.

After some recovery time on the verandah of our hotel room, we decided on some lowcountry fare for dinner. Spartina's Country Kitchen, near Coligny Circle, was just the ticket! Fried green tomatoes, fried chicken, a side dish bar featuring fried okra, macaroni & cheese, collard greens, black eyed peas, skillet corn... oh, heaven. And the Krispy Kreme bread pudding was sinful. Yes, bread pudding made from day-old krispy kreme donuts. ::sigh::

Morning arrived, and we headed out for breakfast. (Yes, all we did was eat.) Stack's Pancakes served up a good breakfast in a setting befitting a Disney-MGM Studios location. Despite the decor, the breakfast was yummy. We stopped at Pirate Island Adventure Golf for two rounds of mini golf, then tried out the pool at the resort for a few hours. The pool was lovely!

We grabbed a light lunch at Parrot Cove, across the marina from DVC Hilton Head, and then did some more lounging on the verandah. Our first misadventure happened when I got an ice cream craving at 4:40. We had dinner reservations for 8:00, so I figured a cone wouldn't interfere too badly, but by the time we got our tushes in gear, and got to the ice cream place it was 6:30. (It was the South, things move slowly there...) Then, it was cash only, and we had $3 between us. Boo. We trekked around, looking for an ATM, gave up, hit the Piggly Wiggly for some Ben&Jerry's, and ate it in the hotel room.

Dinner was lovely. Charlie's L'etoile Verte is a quaint little French restaurant that looks like someone's very gracious home. Mark had a rack of lamb, I had a duck breast. The food was perfect, the atmosphere charming, the service, pretty darned good. The bill, astronomical! But it was a splurge... We knew that going in.

Sunday morning found us at the Hilton Head Diner (what? no hyperlink? I couldn't find a website...), also sporting a decor out of a theme park, but very good challah French toast. We packed up the PTCruiser and drove back south towards Savannah.

Again, we were able to check in early at our hotel in Savannah, and we struck out on foot to explore a little while the day was still young. Savannah is very walkable, and so pretty. We found the birthplace of Girl Scouting's founder, Juliette Gordon Low, quite by accident. We wandered through the city for a few hours, grabbed a light lunch at the Express Cafe and bought pralines at city market. After that, the heat sent us back to the hotel for some rest.

Dinner was a gift from the Bosses, we had carte blanche reservations at Cha'Bella, an organic rustic Italian place on Broad Street. It's won a bunch of recent "Best of" local awards, and got rave reviews from a friend of theirs who travels through Savannah often. The restaurant wsa lovely, with a charming, funky patio, perfect for a Savannah evening. Sadly, the Sunday B Team was working, and between the questionable service, and the poor quality of the food, we were, suffice it to say, disappointed. They were sold out of three entrees, several of Mark's mussels were still frozen when they came to the table, and my "filet" of beef tenderloin was tough and gamey. I have to assume this was an anomaly, since Savannah is supposed to be at the forefront of the new cosmopolitan South. We skipped dessert and got ice cream at Leopold's.

We were asleep early, and got up and moving just early enough on Monday morning to discover that you needed to put your name in at 9:30 AM in order to get a decent seating time for lunch at The Lady & Sons. We wandered the squares of Savannah for an hour, before returning to the circus that is lunch at Paula's place. We gorged on crab stew, friend green tomatoes, pulled pork sandwiches, and chocolate gooey butter cake. Oh, My Tummy! The woman is my idol! More walking was necessary after such a lunch, so we toured around a little more.

One last ice cream stop before we left for some Georgia peach ice cream, and then it was time to return to the airport. Several uneventful hours and flights later, we were pulling into our driveway.

So, having eaten a swath down the Coastal Empire, we return to work, and all the nonsense.