Monthly Archives: June 2013

Rainy Walk in the Woods

Last Thursday afternoon, Zoe and I set off for New Hampshire. We had hoped to climb a big mountain on Friday with our friends, Trish, Alex, and Sage. But, the weather thwarted that plan. We considered canceling or postponing the trip but decided to go anyway as I had already arranged overnight care for Mia, and Zoe had been really looking forward to the adventure, so disappointing as it was to not be able to climb a mountain, it would have been even more disappointing to cancel the whole trip.

About five minutes into our drive, Zoe started to miss Mia. Mia also missed Zoe but she did well on her first sleepover with our beloved former nanny Payson. And, I managed my first night of separation from Mia too since those early NICU days when I was parenting Zoe by night at home, and Mia by day at the NICU. In some real sense, finding a way to give Zoe 1-on-1 time for a whole day or even an overnight is an important part of healing for all of us from those early separations.

Zoe looks up to Alex and Sage a great deal and it was really fun to spend time with them again on what turned into an extended play date.

We did go for a walk in the rain on Greeley Ponds Trail, about 2 flat miles. Trish wrote in more detail about a hike they took along Greeley Ponds Trail to Goodrich Rock last summer, and still early this summer we saw much devastation from Tropical Storm Irene. Part of the trail remains closed. The pictures below are from our walk.

Zoe is still eager to climb her first 4K in the White Mountains so we’ll be looking for another opportunity to climb later in the season.

Alex, Zoe, and Sage all suited up for the rain.


Sad faces as the trail is closed beyond this point.


Everyone is wet, and my camera has a smear too.

Mia is 4, Zoe Finished Kindergarten

It’s now officially summer around here. Mia turned four on June 19. Zoe had a moving up ceremony today to celebrate the end of her kindergarten year. Below are pictures of each of them, Mia on her birthday, Zoe waiting at the bus stop this morning on her last day of school.

I’m a bit sentimental.

I’ve been collecting pictures and video clips for a longer post on Mia’s latest feat which is that she’s taught herself to do “skin the cat” on a hanging triple trapeze swing, the kind with 2 rings and a bar. She taught herself the day before and day of her party which was the weekend before her birthday.

Zoe and her classmates sang several songs for us in Spanish today. She attends a bilingual school and the combination of having 80% of her school day in Spanish with having an au pair speak with her in Spanish at home has made her quite fluent. This week, she made a video invitation in English and Spanish for her teacher to invite her over for a tea party. I was the videographer. She shared a preview of the sweet tea set from my mother that has nursery rhymes on each plate and tea cup and tea pot.

We have a big adventure planned at the end of this week, a special sleepover for Mia with a former sitter, an overnight outing and hike for Zoe and Mara. I’ll report back when I can.

For now, I am grateful to have made it through this first year of having two girls in different schools, transitioning Zoe into elementary school, seeing her Spanish blossom, and readying Mia for pre-K in the fall. Zoe met her first grade teacher and classmates today so she’s excited for next year’s adventures in learning too. In the meantime, we have a full summer planned and I hope to share some of our adventures as they unfold.



Hanging the New Climbing Rope

More than a year ago, I bought twenty-five feet of 2″ diameter untreated manila rope from Knot & Rope Supply, as recommended by another mom with a stroke survivor daughter. That mom and her husband have built all kinds of outdoor and indoor structures for their daughter’s therapy and rehabilitation. I had tips, pictures, inspiration, just not enough time to ever sit down to splice the rope to itself which was my planned next step.

Over the past few months I’ve been decluttering at home and the box of rope was just taking up space until I contacted our excellent arborist, John Platt. Over the past decade or more, I’ve had John help with thinning overgrown trees, removing a tree, and hanging a more traditional swing. He’s quite versatile and I was sure he could help with this project.

We set a time for 5 pm one weekday afternoon in early June and that evening’s entertainment was  top notch. You can click on any of these pictures in this post or others to see a larger image. I’ll let the pictures tell most of the story.

John arrived with a huge ladder and gear. The girls were entranced. He looked at the tree, we talked about whether the rope would be mostly a swinging rope or a climbing rope. I think it’s more for climbing though a little swinging may happen. There isn’t a huge space for a big swinging rope. Eventually, John helped us pick just the right spot.


We had an interesting conversation about knots. I have a lot of sailing experience from my youth and still can tie many different knots. John had to get creative with the knot tying to get the big rope up into the tree and to keep it there. He attached his green rope to the big rope.


He hauled the big rope up into the tree and tied it to a branch with a fancy knot that used minimal length as we didn’t have much extra rope to spare, based on the hanging branch he’d chosen as optimal. I think when I decided to order 25′ of rope, I was thinking of using a lower branch that John rejected as not strong enough.


Zoe was captivated, watching him climb the tree.


The girls continued to watch from a higher perch.


John climbed down the rope to test it out and to tighten his knots up high. He even bounced to make sure it would hold him. He came all the way down and then managed to climb back up again too. No small feat. Remember this kind of rope in gym class? We talked about how these kinds of ropes are probably not in gym classes anymore. Zoe confirmed that.


Zoe got a try!


Mia too. You can see how her two hands are positioned differently on the rope. One of the ideas of this rope is that it’s so big that as she grows and gains strength to climb and swing, she’ll reach up high with both hands to get a nice grip like she’s already able to do with her left hand but not quite doing with her right.

We’re very much looking forward to sharing our new climbing rope with friends this weekend as we prepare to host Mia’s fourth birthday party.


For those interested in this kind of project, the cost of the rope was $92.25 including shipping, and the cost of John’s labor and expertise was $95. So for $187.25, we have an awesome new addition to our back yard!


Mia Learning to do a Headstand

Last weekend, Mia had another pair of Feldenkrais lessons with Matty Wilkinson. On Sunday, Matty was working with Mia on her back and Mia was hanging out playing the harmonica. Then, Mia started to get a bit restless with being on the table and so she was hanging her whole body off as in the third picture below. She did this a few times. Matty used some of his playful strategies to get her back on the table but she had decided that she wanted to practice doing headstands with Matty and she told him that.

Thankfully, Matty embraced Mia’s new direction for the lesson, and supported her in many different attempts at headstands, even a couple tries at a handstand, and he introduced Judo rolls to get her into and out of the headstand position.

We had to move the table out of the way, bring in a padded rug, and use the wall for support. Zoe was there too and enjoyed watching and even helped take some pictures.

Mia was focused, driven to learn, and joyful. I’ll let the pictures show some of that progression.

At the end of the lesson, Matty said that he now has a better sense of what Mia is like when she decides she wants to learn something. Her drive and persistence are contagious.

All week, Mia has continued to practice her headstands and tumbling with new skill in all aspects of the movements.