We're Still Here

Sorry it's been so long between posts lately. We've been trying to adjust to Christie's schedule here, I've made another trip to Boston, the boys have had the flu, and now Christie and I are fighting with it.


Her schedule is an 8 hour swing shift which means she sometimes works 7am-4pm, sometimes 3:30pm-11:30pm. We're much more accustomed to 12 hour night shifts which accomplishes two things:
1) She sleeps during the day, leaving us boys with the van for shopping, park, geocaching, library, etc.
2) She only works three nights a week, which leaves roughly 3.5 days a week for sightseeing, family time, etc.

So you can see the challenges this different schedule creates. It's funny how all these seemingly insignificant things come into play when you live "on the road" like we do. We purposely travel with one vehicle, partly because it's simpler and partly because several years ago we decided we liked having only one car payment. But Christie being gone with the van all day not only severely limits our trips to the library, park, etc., it leaves the lion's share of the shopping, trips to the post office, and so on to her. So when she's off, she's not really off like she normally would be.

Yes, I realize this is how normal people live, but we're spoiled.

We've tried to use public transportation when possible, but because her company tends to put us in nicer apartment complexes, we're living in Norwalk rather than Bridgeport, and the transit schedules simply don't work from here. The boys and I can use buses to get around, but that becomes tricky if the stops involve a lot of walking, especially if I'm carrying grocery bags. Hopefully her next schedule will be a bit more tolerable, but for now we're just kind of grinning and bearing it. Our philosophy is, "we can do anything for three months." We've done worse for longer.

This of course plays into the boy's daily lives as well. Since we're not able to get to many of the local homeschool activities, and it's still a bit cold outside, they're spending a lot of time on the computer, playing games, building games, making comic strips, playing D&D, and generally turning into little couch potatoes. With Spring coming, and the kindness of some neighborhood homeschool families, we plan to remedy that when the temperature goes up late this week.

As for Norwalk, and Connecticut, we're enjoying it immensely. It puts us close enough to Boston, close enough to our friends in Pennsylvania, and close to the beach. The weather is mild, the scenery is beautiful, the people are nice, and there's a great mix of food and cultures. Christie enjoys her job, despite the crazy schedule, and our apartment is very cozy with plenty of room and lots of outdoor room.

We're planning several trips to NYC, and we plan to do all the touristy things CT has to offer. More updates soon!


The Best Housewarming

So we're here in Connecticut, and it's beautiful, the city is awesome, blah blah blah. No matter how exciting it is to live in a new place, there's always that feeling that you're a bit isolated from friends and family while you're getting settled. It was so good for us to have the Foley's visit the first weekend we were here. 

The primary concern when we're together is food. Where will we eat? What new thing will we try? There was an Indian place down the street we'd been dying to go to, so we all went together and had what was probably the most delicious food I've eaten since I discovered crab legs many years ago. I woke up the next morning still craving the sauce from my Chicken Kali Mirch. The fun thing about eating with the Foley's is that we all want to try everything so we sample each other's food (without double-dipping as much as possible...). 

We also ate really good Mexican down the street at Rio's while they were here, and took Stacy to Chocapologie for her birthday (which we unceremoniously forgot back in February). An entire menu of chocolate everything. The Easter Bunny visited the kids Sunday morning. We fixed a traditional Southern Easter lunch with ham, mashed potatoes, squash, green beans, sweet potato casserole, and strawberry cake for desert. It was very meaningful to us all since last Easter is the first time we had lunch/dinner at the Foley's house in Anneville, PA where they fixed a traditional Portuguese meal for us. It's becoming a tradition! 

It was a blast to see them, joking and talking late into the evenings. We were sad to see them go, but we were able to make it to their house this past weekend for Kate's birthday party, so we're all very happy that the distance isn't as great as it has been. Now if we can just convince them to move to Connecticut...

Chocolate Lava Cake and a Chocolate Crepe. Oh yeah, that's Christie and Stacy. 

Max hardly ever eats after other people, but Kate's chocolate sampler broke him down.

The kids got Portuguese sweetbread for Easter too - sweet bread with
an egg baked right into the middle. YUMMY.

Everyone enjoyed the music at Rio's, but probably Brennan most of all.


Beaker The Penguin

Look who's NaNoWriMo book copies showed up today! We're ordering a few more and will send them out to the lucky winners of our Guess Beaker's Belt Size contest. Okay, there's no contest, we'll just have to order what we can afford and send them in the cheapest packaging possible. That's how we roll. Brennan is really proud to hold the finished copy of his work. Here's another excerpt:

Beaker woke up one morning and went downstairs. He was surprised to see that his mom looked like a hippo!

“Mom, why is your tummy so big?” asked Beaker. “Did you eat too much last night?”

“No, I'm having a baby, Beaker,” said his mom happily.

A few weeks later, Beaker's mom was at the hospital. Beaker spent the night at his friend's house. The next day, his mom came back home with the new baby.

When Beaker saw the baby, he almost passed out. The baby was very small. He had never seen a penguin with golden eyes before. But this new baby penguin had gold colored eyes. It was a boy penguin and his feathers were golden. Everyone thought the baby was very cute.

“It must be fun to be a baby,” Beaker said. “Everyone thinks you're cute, and you have really cute eyes.”

“We'll call him The Beak,” his mom and dad said.

“Can I hold the new baby?” Beaker asked.

“First sit on the couch,” his mom said. Then she handed The Beak to him. Holding the baby made Beaker feel good. The Beak started to go to sleep, so Beaker's mom put him in his crib.


Riverview Apartments, Norwalk, Connecticut

Sorry it's taken so long to get this up - we had a fun, busy weekend (more on that in the next post) and it took us a bit more time to get situated here between the apartment being a little older and furniture delivery snafus. Anyway - here's our new place!


A Drummer's Dream

Still catching up! (and I haven't made a video of the new apartment yet!)

We took the boys to the Boston Museum of Fine Arts a few Saturday's ago to see the premier of a documentary called "A Drummer's Dream." The trailer explains it better than I can:

The film just won the prestigious FIPA (Film International) award for best Performing Arts film. So several of the drummer's and the director were present at the screening for Q&A, and meet and greet. Some of these guys I've been listening to since I was in my teens, and it was awesome to expose Rich and Brennan to them, as well as see a really fun film about the discipline of learning to play an instrument. It was an interesting mix of people as well because the drummers featured in the film come from every genre imaginable - jazz, heavy metal, pop, hip-hop, bee-bop, big band, etc. Some of these guys played with Dizzie Gilespie, Sting, and Louis Armstrong. Best of the best.

Boston Museum of Fine Arts.

Kenwood Denard doing a demonstration - playing drums
and piano at the same time.

Director John Walker mediates a Q&A with some drummers
from the film.

Mike Mangini, Nasyr Abdul Al-Kabar, Kenwood Denard

It was especially cool to meet Mike Mangini (again, for me). I first met Mike when he was touring with Extreme back in 1994. He was already ridiculously accomplished at the time, but alas, that band met its demise at the hands of Nirvana soon after. Mike went on to play with guitar luminary Steve Vai, and earn his doctorate in percussion from the prestigious Berkeley School of Music in his hometown of Boston. I've followed his career this whole time and introduced the boys to some of his music when he began to audition for progressive metal kings, Dream Theater back in 2011. He landed the job, truly an honor as the job was highly coveted by 8 other world-renowned drummers at the time. The guy is super nice and a living example of how tenacity and pursuing what you love with passion pays off in the end.

Kenwood, Dad, Brennan, Rich, Dr. Mangini

Vermont Teddy Bear Factory

I'm a little behind on updating, so I'm going to do a few post in order of events. I'll post about our new location in CT as soon as possible!

One place we wanted to squeeze in before we left New Hampshire was the Teddy Bear Factory in Vermont (there's lots of places we didn't get to because there was SO much in this area to do).

Really fun tour, with a little Build-A-Bear type section at the end that was actually affordable. They took us step-by-step through the process of making a Teddy Bear from scratch. Here, they hand cut and sew all the materials, and the keep a small staff, rather than automating everything. A quick, fun stop if you're ever in the Burlington, VT area. It was a nice, relaxing day before the craziness of moving.