midsummer night’s catch-up

photo (74)

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.

photo (70) photo (69)

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.

photo (72)

photo (73)

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.

photo (76)

photo (75)

 

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

 

dreaming of summer: let’s go for a RIDE

100_1315

above: Hershey Park / Hershey, PA

2013 Summer Roadtrip Recap: Picturing Thrills and Chills

We didn’t end up blogging from the road as much as we thought we might. This was partly because we had to rely on inconsistent wi fi access at various stops along the way, and partly because we typically spent our evenings finding a local eatery, swimming in a hotel pool, and trying to get to sleep early so we could get an early start in the morning!  Days were spent driving (of course!), and cramming in as much scenic wonder, historic sites, and fun pit stops as we could manage. Months have gone by and summer seems both a distant memory and a longed-for mirage on the other side of this bitterly cold winter. We thought it’d be fun to do some more roadtrip recaps, to capture more of the highlights from our amazing 3,600-mile journey, and other images from Summer 2013. 

Before and during our big road trip the girls and I enjoyed rides that are faster, louder, steeper, twistier, and a heck of a lot more thrilling than driving around in the B Bus!

IMG_1043

Last summer we spent more time than we usually do at amusement parks. I took lots of pictures while they went on LOTS of rides! These are some of our favorite old-time carnival-inspired amusement park photos, from Canobie Lake Park in New Hampshire, Hershey Park in Pennsylvania, and a few other tourist spots.IMG_0988

Our favorite ride at Canobie Lake Park: Da Vinci’s Dream. Always best at sunset.IMG_0987 IMG_0991

IMG_0366

IMG_1045

IMG_1042

IMG_1044

IMG_1039

Old-timey Over the Rainbow.IMG_4663

IMG_1040

PHB, GHB, & LHB all contributed to this post

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.

Image

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

Image

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

– PHB

Image

winter coat

20140127-184747.jpg

Everyone’s talking about the cold. We’ve had some snow this winter but the weather headline is the freezing temps. After a temporary thaw and some rain, we are headed back into the deep freeze tonight. I took this photo of the creek at Whipple Hill yesterday.

It’s not the super extreme school-canceling Midwestern freeze, but it’s bitter and sharp, especially without pretty blankets of snow. What’s left is actually pretty gray. The girls and I have really noticed how hoary and ancient the B bus is looking, in its winter coat of salty grime.

20140127-185431.jpg

20140127-185527.jpg

Definitely looking less spiffy than on the summer road trip! But the B bus is hardy, as are we.

– PHB

all that remains

all that remains

This year’s January thaw has been quite dramatic. Just a week or so ago I posted the pics of our arctic adventure and we had well over a foot of snow on the ground. I got the flu, and New England got a crazy warm spell, with temperatures nearly reaching 60 degrees yesterday, and accompanied by torrential downpours and even some thunder.

Today was seasonably chilly, windy and sunny. The Christmas trees littering the curbs all over Arlington started to blow over and into the road. Weird, ungainly tumbleweeds. We pulled ours back away from the street to wait for the pickup (delayed by the storm, they are supposed to be picked up for chipping/mulching this week). The last patch of snow out there where the B bus lives is filthy and grimy. When most of it melted, we also found Halloween remnants: the pumpkins I meant to chop up for foraging wildlife. I actually don’t know if that’s a good idea or not (would be nice if a bunny wants a nibble, but we wouldn’t want to make a buffet for raccoons…), so I suppose it’s just as well they’re just sitting there thawing.

xmas endThe light in January feels a bit harsh at times. It’s not that I’m not refreshed by seeing a little more daylight every day. But it can shed a daunting glare on all the undone post-holiday chores. The tree is out but the Ghost of Christmas past is still haunting the house with bits and pieces and bins. I rather like not having to primp or decorate our space for anything at the moment – we’re just living in it, taking 2014 one day at a time.

– PHB

happy new year from the intrepid explorers

IMG_2141

Last night it was below zero in Arlington and the snow had been blowing all day. With two extra vacation days brought to us courtesy of this new year nor’easter, it was prime time for sleepovers, so we walked GHB down Summer Street and around the corner to a pal’s house. LHB and her pal sherpa’ed, and the snow was as dry and diamond bright as I have ever seen it.

IMG_2143

There was talk of exploring the Yukon, even though we waited for the walk signal at the intersection. It just felt that fun and adventurous.

This morning we shoveled and did some makeshift yard-sledding. It’s really still too cold (it’s 9, I think) to head over to the windy sledding hill at McLennen. Fortunately, the whole weekend still lies ahead!

Happy New Year from the frozen north.

IMG_2142

IMG_2137

IMG_2154

– PHB

nyc: final 2013 stop for the B bus

We didn’t actually drive the B bus to NY, but it was our last big family adventure of the year — a now-annual holiday visit with many cousins in and around Manhattan and Westchester. Festive meals, busy museum visits, Central Park and the city itself, watching the Pats game, fun movies, plus the New York City Ballet’s gorgeous Nutcracker! Also extra special to see GAP who lives all the way in Oregon!

20131230-124909.jpg
Lincoln Center

20131230-125026.jpg

20131230-125132.jpg

Metropolitan Museum

20131230-125433.jpg

20131230-125627.jpg

20131230-125929.jpg

20131230-130003.jpg
Heading home on the GO bus – looking back from the Bronx

20131230-130101.jpg

christmas lights

tree2We’ve had such a busy time since Thanksgiving, and not much bandwidth for blogging. But we have been decking the halls, dancing in the jazzy Dance Place Nutcracker, and dealing with SNOW. Here’s a look at some bright lights of our holiday season…from the B Bus view in the driveway, to the Chevalier Theater and travels beyond.

lights9

GHB dancing up a storm of flurries, in the land of the snow queen… and both of the girls in the Waltz of the Flowers

lights10

Tree shopping shenanigans…

lights7lights4

lights12

Snowbound lights and our main road is blanketed

lights

Plow going by Santaland next door…
xmas snow

Giant wreath @ Union Station, Washington DC

lights8

and Fenway Park on the Christmas tree!

tree

– PHB

LHB brings you a brand new sister blog for The B Bus

photo (7)

Like books? LHB is excited to invite B Bus fans over to The Reading Penguin, her new book blog. (Click the blue words linking directly to other blog content).

Her first post tells a little bit about what kinds of books she likes, and she’s got a new review up today!

craftfair5

LHB has been very busy this fall; she made and sold PUFFLES at the school craft fair, and she had a great soccer season, playing well in all positions, especially goalkeeper!

goalie

Plus she is tap dancing, rehearsing for our dance studio’s spectacular Nutcracker show, singing with the Arlington Treble Chorus, and having fun with her Girl Scout troop (ack! cookie sales are coming….).

soccer girls in treeAfter the final game of the season, in which LHB had a big goal, GHB showed the team her treetop vantage point where she’d been watching the game from afar.

– PHB & LHB

champions

B pumpkin

Well, they did it. People often say that Red Sox & New England fans are sort of “scary” fanatical, when we talk about growing up here and growing up as citizens of Red Sox Nation.  There’s no two ways about it — if you are like GHB and LHB and you grow up here, the Sox are an integral part of the infrastructure of your everyday world.  Here’s yet another B pumpkin — this one we spotted while trick or treating on Mt. Gilboa on the night after the big win, and two days before we’d see the World Series trophy placed in homage on the finish line of the Boston Marathon.

On Monday I stopped by GHB’s classroom at the end of the day and noticed this corner for the first time:

classroom

That’s the front page of the Globe from the 2004 World Series win, along with the front page of the sports section from the same edition and a mini shrine of Fenway memorabilia and ephemera. We have that same front page stashed somewhere in a file cabinet in the basement, and we’ve got a fridge magnet of it, too.You can tell the newspapers have been up there for a decade – they’re yellow and faded and tired looking (our magnet’s pretty faded too). But the corner is not dusty and a lot of the items are new.  It’s an active, living, continually curated permanent collection that is equal parts tribute and inspiration and fun for the kids who sit in this classroom every day.  I don’t really think they are blase’ about a third World Series championship in their 10- or 11-year-old lifetimes. I think they see this kind of thing, and the way parents and teachers talk about the Sox, and they know they are part of an epic tradition, rooting for a worst-to-first kind of legendary baseball team.

– PHB