midsummer night’s catch-up

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We haven’t made a post in so long, we have contemplated putting the B Bus on hiatus — the blog, that is, not the actual B Bus, which is still rolling on, taking us to camp, to the beach, to softball games and street fairs.  Summer is in full swing. The girls have graduated from 5th grade, said goodbye to our neighborhood elementary school, and embraced the middle school reading list along with their new cell phones.

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While at overnight camp at beautiful Ferry Beach in southern Maine, they made these stunning fairy houses. Perfect for teeny tiny magical woodland beings on a midsummer eve.

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And I’ve been puttering around in the garden a lot. Last summer’s epic road trip was so incredible. But in some ways it’s a relief to be staying close to home this year. I can never truly keep up with the weeds, but at least this year I have a fighting chance.

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We did lose some plants to the bitter winter, but it truly astounds me every single year when we see what has survived to push forth into the sun and heat and steamy green of summer.

– PHB

 

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frozen february

TOO MUCH SNOW!! The house is growing icebergs. Well, today it was finally warm enough to start melting some of the ice, but this month has been a challenge, with snow on top of snow, and too many days below freezing for us to get outdoors very much.

A strangely attired penguin did appear in the yard today to brighten things up.

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And the girls have been very successful selling lots of Girl Scout cookies, especially to hungry homebound commuters.

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It’s been a pretty quiet February staycation. Sleepovers, ice skating, tubing @ Nashoba, cookie booths, and SNOW.

– PHB

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apples!!!

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posted by GHB

Check out this apple blossom sky!

This is a picture of the sky over the belltower of our church in the center of town two nights ago, which was the night before Johnny Appleseed’s birthday. We were driving in the B Bus on Mass Ave coming home from a dance class and PHB snapped this awesome pic.

Did you know that this is a picture of the sun reflecting off of the ice crystals in the sky making them appear pink? It only happens in the fall because of where the earth is to where the sun is at that time of year. People call this an apple blossom sky.

Today however, as a 5th grader I got a Kindergarten Buddy at my school and we all went apple picking with our K Buddies. Everyone was allowed to take home a small bag of apples and a pumpkin and we all got to see animals and go on a hayride. There was a working tractor parked outside of the bunny hut. There were no keys in it but we could honk the horn and turn on the headlights. All the kindergarteners couldn’t get enough of honking the horn.  It got annoying after a while!

Apples are at their best in the fall and they are delicious! We plan on making apple pie and apple slump.

– GHB

reluctant soccer mom

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This is kind of an unusual theme for a post for me, but the B Bus gals have been busy with sports this week!

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I really try hard to avoid focusing on the whole soccer-mom-with-minivan thing, even as I chauffeur kids to the field in the B Bus and cheer from my dorky collapsible chair on the sidelines. It’s not pretty.

But this weekend here we were at last night’s Boston Breakers game! This is our hometown team in the newly (re)formed National Women’s Soccer League, and their home games are played at Dilboy Field, which is just across the Alewife Brook from East Arlington.

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We were THRILLED to be in the stands with 500+ other soccer fans from the Arlington Soccer Club, for a 4-1 victory over the Chicago Red Stars.  This was also the girls’ first experience with an authentically epic tailgate scene — ASC took over half the parking lot to serve soft tacos, quesadillas, and churros.  U10 Girls (4th grade) were well represented, and we ran into many friends in addition to Green teammates Annika, Anoushka, Frances, and Lucy. Hard to believe we were huddled in our down coats, under blankets, on May 4th, but it was a windy 45 degrees and well worth the ridiculousness of hauling out the winter coats I had just put away last week.

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Icing on the cake was the incredible autograph scene after the game, when members of both teams came out to greet fans while signing everything from soccer balls to shirts, programs, and tickets.

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The crowd was massive and it was a daunting prospect, but GHB and LHB, ASC practice shirts clutched high, persevered. You can see GHB’s Red Sox cap, lower right, and LHB was right in front of her.

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Victory!

But the best part of the weekend by far was watching the girls with their own teams.  This is the first season since Kindergarten that they are not playing soccer together.  GHB has decided to play softball instead, and is now playing with several Peirce friends as a member of the Alabama minors team.

Here she is – her very first at bat (since T ball!), and huddling with the team. Roll Tide, Roll!

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That was a chilly Friday night, we didn’t win the game, and GHB didn’t get on base.  But she is learning fast, and she’s determined!

I’m sure the recent 4th grade trip to Fenway Park has nothing to do with it…

DSC_0246Saturday morning we started our Awesome Day of Soccer at LHB’s game, in which she scored not one, but TWO goals!  Wow.  Normally on defense, she hasn’t scored a goal since last year. Spring soccer sees the ranks of 9 and 10 year old girls really start to thin, and there aren’t always enough players at the game — in fact, with 6 girls they only just managed to avoid a forfeit, and they all had to stay in for the entire game. This time they played a great clutch game!

It’s been a couple of weeks since the shocking events that put Boston in the news, and made Boston Strong a meme and a mantra.  We’re all slowly getting back to normal, and the school year and sports calendar marches on. I’m still not sleeping well, but I do feel restored by being in community, which can be as simple as the playground when school’s getting out, or as exciting as a pro soccer game.  I felt it in the powerful stillness of an entire stadium observing a very long minute of silence Saturday night.  This was just a minor moment, not broadcast around the nation like the Fenway Sweet Caroline/Big Papi moment or the national anthem at the Bruins game. But no one was restless or disrespectful, or haphazardly still trying to find their seat. The bleachers were packed but completely motionless and quiet; it was a moment of unity and strength.  

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And so was this – Chicago and Boston players together (with baby!) with fans of all ages. Girl power.

-PHB

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april showers

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Rained overnight, so everything was wet, and rainwater is pooling in these shells that stayed out in the garden under the snow all winter.  The quahogs look their best when wet, especially the gorgeous purple insides.  We painted the outsides, down on the Cape last summer — they are not in their natural state! It’s easy to see why the Wampanoags and other tribes used this material for jewelry or wampum.  I just like seeing the shells and knowing that spring will soon give way to the delights of summer.

GHB and LHB usually go clamming at least once while we’re vacationing in Brewster with our friends; I think these shells may actually be from one of the batches that ended up being boiled into a chowder!

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Here are a couple of other shots from the just-coming-back-to-life April garden.

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– PHB

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spring sky

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Still light in the sky after 6:00pm.  In spite of the persistent piles of frozen snow, we can feel the turn of the year towards spring.  Evening traffic on Summer Street, heading out in the B bus to pick up the dance team gals.  Took this through the windshield. Not the most spring-y image, but something about the light gave me that first gut-level sense that change is in the air.

-PHB

delightfully unexpected bully

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Today’s headline in the Boston Globe made us smile.  It’s true that yesterday’s huge and un-forecasted snowfall interfered with commutes and jobs and caused consternation throughout Arlington and all of metro Boston.  Due to a super-tricky forecast and tough decision about road conditions and snowfall rates, schools in our town had to open for the day even as families and teachers struggled to get out of their own driveways and sidewalks were impassable, buried under 15″ of snow that fell rapidly between 5am and midafternoon.  But look at this gorgeous snow creation taking shape in the yard today! 

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Even though they had to climb over drifts to get to school yesterday, for the most part this significant late-season snowfall has been nothing but fun for GHB and LHB.  Although I could not get the B bus out of the driveway until late afternoon yesterday, because I was stuck working from home I was able to keep up with shoveling the sidewalks and saw neighbors I haven’t seen in months.

When released from school, kids were thrilled to get out and play even though it was still coming down, and the wind was pretty fierce. LHB and pal Megan crafted a sphinx-like snow tiger, about to pounce on Summer Street passersby.

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Today, routine errands turned into a mountaineering expedition as LHB and GHB attempted a diagonal ascent of this humongous parking lot pile!

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snow1 Victory!

It was so sunny and beautiful, this pile is melting fast.  Fortunately, we got the errands done in time to spend the balance of the afternoon working on the molded-brick fort.

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We’re a little anxious about the warm temps and how long the fort will last, but as the sun is now setting and we’re headed back below freezing for tonight, I’m feeling pretty confident we’ll be able to enjoy it again tomorrow morning, before the sun warms things up again.

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I think we’re pretty ready to Spring Forward (!) anyway.  Time to change the clocks….

– PHB

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snow adventures part 2

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NOTE: The B Bus has been offline since last Thursday, due to our school vacation week trip!  It’s ironic to be sitting in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California at Auntie Lizzie’s house as I post part 2 of the Nemo adventure so belatedly! There’s already fresh snow back in A-town — will we have to dig the B Bus out when we get home…..?

Sadly, the beautiful and epic snowfall is already a dingy mess.  It’s hard to believe this pile at the driveway, which is still waist high, is much diminished by rain and 40-ish temperatures.

nemo10GHB and LHB and Allyson did such a fantastic job (with some help from the plow guy) getting walkways cleared around the house.  A lot of melting has already occurred here, but many sidewalks and crosswalks continue to be nearly impassable. Kids just went back to school Tuesday.

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But while they were snowbound at home, LHB and GHB had two full days of nonstop snowy fun!

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As I navigated around the drift-narrowed streets of Arlington over a week after the storm, the parking lot piles and poor driving conditions were almost the same as two winters ago when we had record snowfall from many major storms.  Hard to believe this was all from one storm over the one weekend I had to be away from home!

– PHB

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GHB + LHB snow adventures part 1

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What GHB and LHB found when they went outside today after Nemo blew through New England.  The drift is as high as an elephant’s eye –

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In summer that eye is about as tall as PHB!

Trying to climb over the drift to get in the back yard.

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And first look out the front door… WOW moment.

– PHB, LHB, GHB, with thanks to Allyson for the cool photographs!