Thursday, April 24, 2008

She's Arrived!

Baby Serena (the baby bump in the bridal party) arrived in the wee hours on the 23rd. She was 8 pounds and 7 ounces, and 20.5 inches long. Mom Allison was very happy to be done with her pregnancy. Michael and I took our first lunch date as a married couple and went to meet Serena at lunch time today. Serena is precious! Lots of dark hair. She never opened her eyes during our visit, but she made a lot of interesting faces as we passed her around. I am excited because now I can show off the baby leg warmers I made for Serena. I haven't been able to blog about them before because Allison reads my blog. I didn't want to spoil the surprise. I've heard leg warmers are trying to make a come back, so Baby Serena will be ahead of the fashion curve wearing her hand knit leg warmers. I can't wait for Allison to take a photo of the leg warmers in action. Allison looked so happy to be a Mom again. She seemed calm, and as if she had everything under control. She made pregnant look good and makes being the mother of an infant look effortless so far.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Oak Hill Fire Tower

Denise and I took a slow jaunt for about two hours up the fire tower road on Oak Hill on Sunday morning. We're trying to motivate each other to hike this summer. I've been talking about taking up hiking for years now, so it was nice to have someone to go with.

We went to EMS the week before and tried on hiking boots together and found ourselves some colorful day packs. I ended up ordering my light hiking boots on-line because I wanted the pretty green that wasn't available in the store.

We've been looking around for some beginner type trails, walks, or roads that we can start to build our stamina up on. The trip up Oak Hill to the fire tower gave us a little challenge to start, but it was short enough that we didn't have to give up. We really didn't have any good views from the top of the hill because neither of us were brave enough to actually climb the fire tower so we could look out at the scenery. But the weather was gorgeous. We found information about the Oak Hill trail right on the City of Concord's website. Maybe before the end of the year, we can try hiking in from the Shaker Road side.

If anyone has suggestions of places we can go around the Manchester/Concord area, please leave a comment with your idea.

I think it would be fun to work up to being able to hike in to a shelter someplace with a group, take our knitting, and then spend the night eating dinner off a Jetboil stove and knitting the night away with good company.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

The New Dog Bed

Michael and I went to IKEA in Stoughton, Massachusetts on Saturday and bought a new bed frame and a stand to put our TV on, among other things.
It was time to get rid of the old king size bed. Who knows exactly how old it was. We already had a barely used queen size bed in the other bedroom. And now that we only have two small dogs to share the bed with it, we thought maybe we could downsize to the queen. So we decided to buy a new black wood bed frame and swap the queen size bed into the master bedroom.
When the large boxes arrived, it disrupted the dogs. Especially when we went upstairs and immediately started dismantling their big dog bed. It was clearly stressful to Elleigh and Lucas. The vacuum cleaning of the dust bunnies under the old bed didn't impress them either. But they were enthusiastic about helping put the new bed frame together. Lucas gave Michael a supportive kiss after every single screw that Mike put into the bed. Elleigh would stand on Mike's back so she could see better what he was doing with the tools. They were too helpful!
The new bed is all together now. Those of you who don't know IKEA, they have great prices on comforter cover and pillow case sets. We got a set in the red and white floral pattern, which looks great against the black wood. And on a different shopping trip, I found at Target a similar black and white floral patterned throw pillows and a matching lamp. The only casualty we had putting the bed together was that we broke the bedside table lamp. So I was glad to find a lamp that matches the pillows and the comforter cover.
Lucas and Elleigh seem to be happy with their new night time dog bed. They are fans of the comforter cover since they can sink right down in it. They look so comfy!

Friday, April 18, 2008

The Dog Park

Elleigh and Lucas have been treated to two trips to the Concord dog park this week. Since we are working parents, both times we have arrived pretty late. So it was approaching dusk and we couldn't get great action photos due to lack of light. We also arrive after the crowds, so not a lot of socialization has happened yet this year. I can't wait for Elleigh to see some of her old friends.
But the kids LOVE the dog park no matter what time we arrive or how few people/dogs there are. They can run around without leashes, roll each other through the dirt, wipe their dirty paws all over Mommy & Daddy's pants, and check out p-mail. There is a large dog side of the park and then a separate fenced in small dog area, so we don't have to worry about Elleigh and Lucas getting trampled by big dogs. There are benches for the humans. You can see Elleigh taking a breather on the bench in the photo above.
On Friday night, Brodeigh the Italian Greyhound was at the park with his Mother. He sure was fast, but his legs are sooo long and sooo skinny. I couldn't help but think of those little legs snapping without much effort. YIKES! It was fun for the dogs to pick up sticks and run around with them playing keep away. Brodeigh was the winner of that game since he could sprint and leave the the Bostons in the dust.
I packed water, baggies, and puppy treats so the kids could have some refreshment in between all of the hard play. We even flipped a doggy Cheez-It treat through the fence to big dog Spencer. We waited until there were no other dogs in the small dog area to bring out the treats so we wouldn't cause a doggy ruckus.
Elleigh and Luke are so tired after going to the dog park. And so filthy! On Wednesday night, their collars and bodies were caked with dirt so they ended up with tubbies when we got home. And especially Elleigh, they get so excited upon arrival that you can't help but love to take them for a night out at the dog park.

Sunday, April 13, 2008


Michael and I headed to Manchester last night to see the Monarch's in their final regular season game. (They have made the play-off's.) We like to head into the city early on game night to find free on street parking. We find a nice spot and then dine at a restaurant we can walk to before sauntering to the Verizon Arena.

The dining destination we picked last night was called Z food & drink and it is right on Elm Street, closer to the arena end. We can thank Nancy for the recommendation to this little gem. Despite the Z name, it was far from sleepy. The restaurant does not take itself too seriously as evidenced by the Mr. Potato Heads and Connect Four games left on each table. I also had a fun sparkling white wine called Coppola Sofia Blanc de Blanc that came in a pink can with a pink straw.

The menu is unique and creative, though, it's not a huge list. They are putting their energy into making a few tasty dishes rather than having to a list so long that they can't possibly be perfect at all of them.

Michael and I shared a calamari appetizer. That seems to be our favorite appetizer to share since we order it at every restaurant that has it on the menu. (Leave us a comment if you know of a calamari appetizer we shouldn't miss.) The Z version came with two dipping sauces, one with smoked paprika romesco sauce and the other with a basil sauce. We've never had those two flavors to dip our calamari in before and they were wonderful. I think I liked the basil sauce the best of the two they served.

For dinner, Michael got the pork dish. It was a thick slice or braised pork with a mango-ginger sauce/puree and a lime-cilantro sour cream drizzle. He also got red beans and rice with the dish. It was good, or at least the taste I got was.

I was fascinated by the Asian Nacho menu description, so I ordered those and a goat cheese croquettes salad as my meal. Let's talk about those Asian Nachos first. WOW! I love food combinations that I have never seen before and the nachos sure did please me. Instead of traditional nacho chips, Z's used crisp won tons. They then put grilled chicken, red and yellow peppers and jack cheese on top of the crisps. And finished it off with drizzles of sesame peanut sauce and wasabi sour cream. YUMMY! I would go back again just for an order of the Asian Nachos. My salad was good too. The goat cheese croquettes looked like little crab cakes on a field greens. The whole salad was spotted with pistachios and dried cranberries. I do wish they had soaked the cranberries in something to make them softer. I would recommend a soaking in champagne or balsamic vinegar, but I'm not in charge of their menu. The salad came with a champagne vinaigrette. Only a foodie would have whipped the cell phone out to take a photo of the nachos!

We paid the bill and headed down the street to the Verizon Arena and found our seats at the Monarch's game. The Monarch's played the Providence Bruins. It was a physical game. Sometimes it seemed as though they were more interested in checking and beating on each other than actually focusing on plays and scoring. Some would call that a good hockey game. The annual bed pan race was held during the first period break, and Concord Hospital lost their title as reigning bed pan champions. The game remained scoreless until the last three minutes. At that point, the Monarch's started handing goals to the Bruins. That was disgusting! The Bruins ended up winning with three goals.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Stir Crazy!!

When the dogs get stir crazy from a long winter, it's time to go to the farm to visit their Grandparents. We took advantage of the warmer weather on Tuesday and took Luke and Elleigh over to the in-laws. We went for a walk on the dirt road as far as the mud would allow. Elleigh and Lucas had a great time running as fast as they could up and down the road, through mud puddles, tackling each other and checking out smells that they haven't had a chance to sniff since last fall. They were both filthy and tired when we took them home.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Let's Go, Monarchs!!

Karen, Shaelyn, Michael and I went to see the Monarchs play ice hockey last night at the Verizon arena in Manchester. We hardly recognized Shaelyn when we got there since she got to cut her long hair after the wedding. We gave Shaelyn (and Karen) tickets as an attendant gift for being the best little junior bridesmaid for our wedding (and Karen for being an excellent auxiliary photographer.) Shaelyn has healthy vocal cords as she demonstrated with her chanting along with all the team jeers. There was a guy with a cow bell two rows ahead of us that was more than happy to beat along with Shaelyn shouting, "Let's Go, Monarchs!" She did great sitting through all 3 periods. We tried, but we didn't win anything with Chuck a Puck. The Monarchs creamed the Worcester Sharks. And we now will get free fries from McDonald's since the Monarchs scored 4 goals. Save those ticket stubs!
We are going to see the Monarchs again next Saturday night too as it is the annual Bed Pan Race and Concord Hospital participates in that exciting event.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Yarn, Fiber and Company

It's time to write another blog entry since my Mom sent me an e-mail wondering if I was busy and/or sick since she hadn't heard from me and there were no new blog entries to read. I got the hint, Mom!

I went to The Yarn & Fiber Company in Windham, NH for a Friday evening out knitting with friends in a yarn store. I picked up Alison in Suncook and Denise in Manchester on the way to Y&F. Obviously, you can't sit and knit in a yarn store without actually getting up, walking around and shopping. Y&F has a very ingenious scheme going on there. I have wanted to go down and join some of the ManchVegas knitters on a Friday night for some time now, but with the wedding planning it just never happened.
Here's a photo of the new loot I picked up. Half of the skeins were on sale, luckily. This is my first skein of the Smooshy sock yarn from Dream In Color and it is very soft. It's the dark blue/purple skein. This is also my first skein of the madelinetosh hand dyed sock yarn in a peony colorway. Yummy! I have a special project in mind for that skein, but can't mention it here because the recipient is a blog reader. But my knitty friends can learn all about it by logging into their ravelry account.
Going down to Y&F really got me thinking about my last (and first) trip to that yarn shop. Last April, I joined some of the ManchVegas girls and attended a class taught by Cheryl Potter (of Cherry Tree Hill in Vermont) and learned how to dye my own yarn. It was a crowded class, but it was so fun to get all of the dyes out and try to come up with a unique colorway all my own to bring some blah white sock yarn to something truly my own.
The biggest thing that I learned from the class was that I can't become a hand-dyer because I would spend all of my time staining myself, the house and sock yarn and would never actually get around to knitting. Besides, I know some people who dye on a regular basis and there's always Etsy to find the perfect colorway.
I did pull out the two skeins that I dyed myself so you could see my color genius. I don't have the creative naming down yet since the blue skein I call Blue. And the multicolor skein I originally called Paas, because it looked like I used the dye leftover from coloring Easter eggs. But that's probably a trademark infringement, so I had to change it to Easter Egg before I got a cease and desist order from the Paas company.