Sunday, July 30, 2006

Its been a weekend of nonstop shopping around here. And those of you who know me best know how I feel about shopping (somewhere just before "toenail extraction"on the pain scale). Especially when I was shopping for a ball gown and kitchen countertops...not at the same store, mind you.

Friday my friend Susan and I drove south to Va Beach sans kids. As an aside, for the second time in 2 weeks I was able to leave the girls with a babysitter and NO ONE CRIED. Shore Health Services, Tracy's employer, holds a black tie fundraising event every fall and it is time to begin shopping for a gown. Susan and I tortured ourselves by squeezing into too tight, too sequined, too EXPENSIVE, too orange, too fluffy, and just too...something. Everything was horrible, size 2, or breathtakingly beautiful with a matching breathtaking price tag. We had a great time, though, and enjoyed a sane lunch in civilization without dealing with fussy little people. The lady eating next to us had her toddler in tow, and we looked on with pity as she repeatedly wiped his silverware clean after he threw it to the ground.
Saturday Tracy and I hauled the girls north to Salisbury, MD to look at kitchen countertops. Our house is falling apart: we need a new roof, new windows, chimneys need repointing, a new faucet in our bathroom, new countertops...I could go on but it might sent the blog company into overload. SOOOOO we have decided to take out a home equity loan to accomplish the most important of these items. We're getting bids from roofers and repairmen, and are now trying to select counter tops. This is not easy with girls in tow, believe me. The conversation with the saleswoman at Lowes went something like this: "Can you tell me the basic difference between Silestone and...Kate, get out of there!...and granite? India, stop pulling your sister's arm. I'm sorry, what were you saying about porous...Kate, no running please...porousness? What about...India, I can't take you to the potty this minute...about maintenance...could you excuse me for a second?" Would you believe India went to the bathroom 4 TIMES in a half hour in Lowes?

Somehow we did finally get our questions answered and picked out something we like. Then I left the girls with Tracy while I tried on more ball gowns. And found one. Relief. Now I have to wait for the order to come in and go BACK for it to be fitted. Sometimes I would like to be a guy and just wear the same tuxedo every year. So cheap and easy.

Sunday was much more fun. My friend Louise had a birthday party for her son, Thomas, and today's photos are from his celebration. Louise is from Tasmania and I could listen to her talk all day "...hello luv. This heat has me positively gobsmacked..." She has lived in some interesting places, including Thailand, so everything she does has an eclectic flair. Sushi and ribs on the "barbie"(yes, she said it) were on the menu for the grownups. What a combo, especially with margaritas. The kids had a wonderful time; particularly with this amazing water slide! It was so hot that the grownups were tempted to jump on, too.

We're going to spend this week trying to stay cool; we've had a heat index of over 100 almost every day and some unbelievable storms at night (60 mph wind gusts). Tracy just read the projected temps and this week sounds even worse. We'll just count the days 'til the Galax Fiddler's Convention and some cooler mountain air!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Most people have never heard of Virginia's Eastern Shore. In fact Shore residents, including myself, love checking maps to see if we are even included; more often than not maps of Virginia leave off our 75 mile long stretch of peninsula. But almost eveyone is familiar with Chincoteague Island(pronounced 'Shinkoteege'), the setting for the famous children's book and movie "Misty of Chincoteague". Chincoteague and it's neighboring island Assateague (yes,'s a native-American word) are inhabited by wild ponies (lots of interesting theories about how they got here) that each year are herded and auctioned off to ensure proper care and maintenance of the ponies. The proceeds raise money for the Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Department. The Pony Penning occurs on the Wednesday of the Chincoteague Carnival (I told you the carnivals are essential to Eastern Shore summers), and involves a spectacular 10 mile swim from Assateague to Chincoteague during the slack tide.
The ponies are herded by "Saltwater Cowboys"; to be named one is a true honor. For more information about Pony Penning visit .
I have never attended Pony Penning. It's not that I don't want to; I'm dying to see this incredible, beautiful sight for myself. I have always either been working full-time or, now, I have small children to care for. The other problem is it's crowded. Chincoteague is "full to the gills" during this week every summer; my friend who lives there has regaled me with horror stories about Pony Penning crowds. She says the best way to witness the event is by boat. So unless someone invites me along on their boat trip, we'll save that for when we actually own a boat. Can't wait! Anyone interested in a Pony Penning visit next year...?

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Here comes the bride...dum DUM dum dum...
I have been watching the video of our wedding over, and over, and over, and...well, you get the idea.

India has developed a recent interest in the concept of marriage in general and my marriage in particular, so the video of our wedding rehearsal and reception made by a friends' mother is the penultimate entertainment for her. This frequent wedding-watching has prompted some interesting comments and conversations:

I: Kate, who will you marry?
K: Mommy.
I: You can't marry Mommy; she's a girl! You have to marry a boy! (Not entirely true, but I don't think India is ready for that info yet).
K: thinking for a minute I marry Daddy.
I: You can't marry Daddy; he's already married. I'm going to marry William; how about Henry? (William's brother).
K: NO!
I: Well, you have to marry somebody (again, not entirely true).
K: NO!
I: How about...India begins indescriminately naming boys of various ages?
K: NO! NO!

I've also had loads of fun trying to explain who the "princesses" were (bridesmaids). Why were all the "daddies" (groomsmen) dressed alike with "bows around their necks".Why did I throw a bunch of flowers at my friends? Why did Daddy throw my "shoe" (garter) and Uncle B. catch it in his mouth? Why was the cake so big? Why was the car covered in "paper" (aisle cloth from the church) and what are all those other interesting items and balloons (colored condoms look just like little balloons)on the car? She also wants to know where she was during the do you explain that one?

India was also thrilled with recognizing various friends and family. Each time someone waves at the camera India yells "Mommy, they waved at me!". Randy, if you are reading this she spotted you right away. She didn't recognize her Auntie Clare because you looked (and you were) so young. She loved seeing all her grandparents and also seeing Makey boogying with our friend John...this is my favorite part of the video too. It was bittersweet hearing her shout joyously "There's Granny!" then quietly stating "Granny died".

I hadn't watched this video in so long, and it was lots of fun to see. Tracy and I look so young! That BIG change was made more unavoidable recently by a woman referring to me as Kate's grandmother (yes, I think she was a crack user but I did promptly go out and highlight my hair to cover a few of the greys). It was fantastic to see the faces of many old friends. Mike, you were in there dancing your ass off. I think there is something magical about a wedding reception when such a disparate group comes together to celebrate a marriage, and that was fun to remember. To paraphrase Bob Hope, thanks for the memories, India! And I'll answer your tough questions later. Much later.

Monday, July 24, 2006

There is a point every year where I just get sick of the heat, and I have reached it. I know when the damp, frigid winds blow from across the Bay in the dead of winter I will miss warmth, but for now I am just burned out on summer.

It's not summer itself...I love the sunshine, the outdoors, the beach...the ease of it all. It's the high heat and humidity that has me over the top. It just drains me. Afternoons seem to go on forever as I try to create activities that keep India and Kate occupied but don't involve leaving the house. We can't play outside in the shade because the mosquitos are vicious, and one can only go to the library, CVS or the Book Bin so many times in a week! We absolutely love living here, but there are times when a Target or mall would be nice for a cool, easy afternoon with the girls. There was a great article in The Virginian-Pilot yesterday about the days before least I can camp out in the house with the cold air pumping!

I took a hiatus from the camera this unplanned boycott but I realize I have nothing to show you. I had a great Girls' Night Out (GNO) on Friday. My friends Sally, Susan and I try to do this every month or so and do a "crawl" of Onancock...drinks and appetizers one spot, dinner another, and dessert in yet another place. Saturday we hosted dinner for a new Doc and his wife and kids who have just moved here from Richmond (very nice with kids our age so we're excited), and Sunday was a lazy day with little accomplished other than Kate wearing underwear for most of the day (successfully, I might add), naps for everyone and a trip to the grocery store. Woohoo, do we know how to live it up!

Have some fun here (especially Clare and Janice) and keep cool this week.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

INDIA: Mommy, what does a hedgehog sound like?
ME: I don't think they make much of any sound, India.
INDIA: They go "Hedge, Hedge, Hedge". That's what I think.

We have been very busy with not much to show for our efforts over the last couple of days. Each day has been spent going to the "Y" in the mornings, having lunch and naps, then playing outside in the afternoon. Wednesday evening we went out for dinner because our cupboards were bare, then had a stroll around Onancock. To learn more about Onancock check out this website at; it's a great little scenic harbor town.
Thursday night was our final trip to the carnival for the year. Kate cried as we left the grounds and we drove away to the girls' fornlorn refrain of "Goodbye, ponies; goodbye merry-go-round, goodbye totton tandy, goodbye ferris wheel...". Parting is such sweet sorrow.

Tonight Tracy will brave the grocery store with both girls (he can still put Kate in the backpack...too heavy for me) and then treat the girls to a pizza while I have a girls' night out. What a great guy. Thank you, thank you Tracy!

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Trying to keep cool here on the Eastern Shore. It's difficult, believe it or not. We can't make it to the beach every day; even though we are surrounded by water ( 5 mintues from the house to the east and west) true "beaches" are limited and the public ones are 30+ miles away. We did make it today, though, and enjoyed being outside without feeling faint! Monday and Tuesday were pretty miserable and involved quite a bit of ennui on everyone's part.

We hit the beach today with my friend Andrea and 2 of her three children, Nicole and Christopher. In the photo above Nicole informed me as they walked away that she and India were having "girl time". How do you have "girl time" when you are 4 and 5? What were they talking about? Do I want to know? India has seemed so grown up to me lately that this photo seems to foreshadow things to come.

Kate and Christopher are not as covivial as the big girls. There is some serious infighting that goes on there. This was one of their calmer moments. They have quite a system worked out; Christopher is aggressive and in response Kate shrieks until his ears bleed.

I think I hooked Andrea on the sea glass thing. We culled the beach for frosted treasures and this afternoon the girls and I had fun adding to one of our sea glass jars and reviewing our loot.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Saturday night was a Moment In Turman History. Neither child cried as we left them with a babysitter. Tracy propelled me out the door...I was too frozen from shock to move! It's been four years since I have been able to leave the house without at least one (usually both) girls sobbing and clinging to me like a spider monkey. What a pleasant change that was. We attended a cocktail party that was work-related for Tracy but still fun, especially since our friends Tom and Mary went, too. Got home a little to late, but it was worth it for a grown-up night out. Sunday we took a walk, washed the cars (the only outdoor activity we could think of that helped us stay cool), took naps while Tracy did some homework, then met our friends John and Susan for playtime and dinner. They are building a gorgeous new house on the seaside and this was the first time we were able to go inside and really see the layout. Spectacular! And what a view. John's parents' home is also being constructed nearby so we walked over to check that out, too. The girls played in the sprinkler and we attempted to keep them out of the sheetrock dust, rusty nails and soda cans that are inevitable at a construction site. The house should be complete in a couple of months. I keep asking them when we can move in! Funny, they never give me an answer...

Friday, July 14, 2006

It's hot. It's humid. It's July. Naturally, I'm listening to "The Nutcracker".

India, aka "Clara", is now officially ballet obsessed. So we put on a little Tchaikovsky and boogie down. Now, I enjoy classical music so it's not that I mind the Tchaikovsky, per se, it's more the frequency of the request (she only wants "Clara" music) combined with the seasonal mismatch that has me a bit underwhelmed. That and the "Watch this!" that's repeated every 2.5 seconds (Mom and Dad, you're thinking "karma"). I complain, but it truly is very sweet...particularly with Kate the sister stalker following right behind. This photo is of India and her Baby Karen wearing matching fairy princess costumes from Aunt Katie, Uncle Jim and Makey for her birthday. This outfit is, for India, the penultimate in ballerinaness and she would wear it all day every day if I let her.

After dinner we broke away from the Nutcracker and had a dance-off that involved alternating between bluegrass and disco/funk. I'm guessing that this wretched combination would disturb musicians on both sides of the fence but it fed the girls' music tastes. So we alternated between Del McCoury and Dee-Lite, the Diddybops and the Commodores. As you can see, Kate enjoyed herself enough that she was compelled to strip, while India added copious amounts of clothing in a StevieNicks-like fashion. All in all it was so much fun that Tracy and I had a hard time turning off the music so the girls could settle down before bedtime!

Unrelated to music, but funny: today in the car India randomly commented "Mommy, sometimes peoples don't have heads". I couldn't help it, I just cracked up! I laughed so hard that I glanced in the rear-view mirror to determine if I had hurt her feelings...and saw Kate coated in melted chocolate and picking her nose for all she was worth. Sometimes I just have to wonder about their intellect, but they are certainly very cute...

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Carnivals are a big deal on the Shore. Until last year there were 3 of them, all to benefit the host towns' volunteer fire department. This year the Onancock Carnival closed forever; a source of great disappointment and sadness for long-time Shore residents in particular. To help soften the blow Wachapreague has opened it's doors for a couple more weeks. The other Carnival is on Chincoteague Island. It is about 45 minutes away so we have yet to go to that one, but since having children we have been loyal Wachapreague Carnival goers.

India and Kate LOVE the carnival. They enjoy the sounds, the smells, the tastes, the sights, and....most importantly they love the rides. The fire department has done a great job catering to younger kids with four or five small rides including the ubiquitous merry-go-round. India also loves the big kid rides, which she fearlessly boards with her Daddy while I hold Kate and listen to her fuss about being too little.

The Carnival food is incredible, and includes clam fritters, sweet potato fries, and DEEP FRIED OREOS (these are so good they are poison). The food is so delicious, in fact, that Wachapreaguers can be seen picking up dinner to go. India and Kate favor the "Totton Tandy", in the usual spirit of the messier the better.

The above picture was taken from the top of the ferris wheel. What a great view! By the time we left at 9:15 Kate was sobbing with fatigue and repeating "I wan' mo' ponies!"...first words out of her mouth this morning were "I wan' ride da ponies adain!".

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Today's picture is for Brooke, who commented on the last entry about how clean the girls were with their popsicles. Notice, Brooke, those photos were taken at the beginning of their popsicle eating. Check out what Kate does with a PB&J. Every time.

India had her 4 year well child checkup yesterday. The cliffhanger we were all holding our breath for...Will India Be Big Enough To Sit In a Booster Seat...or...Is She Still A Midget? Poor little India (and I do mean little) has been mysteriously tiny since birth. Tracy is around 6ft 2in and I am 5ft 7in; India is only in the 10th percentile for height and the 5th for weight. Honestly, on her growth chart the doctor has written Tracy's height, my height, and drawn a big question mark. Yesterday she weighed (drumroll please) 30lb and was 36inches tall. To use a booster she must be 40lb and 40 inches...booster seat, we'll see ya when she's 12.

Everything else checked out perfectly and Dr. David and I did some fast talking about how to deal with shots. We mutually agreed to give some of them now and some of them next year, as they are not required until she is entering kindergarten. By dividing the shots it cuts down on her physical distress and, in my opinion, helps to weed-out confusion should she have an allergic reaction (Kate had one to the MMR).

India is such a toughie! She was a brave, brave girl and after about 60 seconds of crying pronounced that the booboos didn't hurt anymore. She ripped off her band-aids and didn't look back.

Monday, July 10, 2006

How could two girls this angelic-looking wreak the kind of havoc I experienced last Thursday and Friday? Perhaps the popsicles sweetened their dispositions (or maybe life is easier with parental reinforcements), but the weekend was a much better scene at the Turman house. No WWF moments the entire weekend! Just a few minor incidents, one of which involved coating a toy pig in chap-stick, but all in all very tolerable. I had a girls' night out Saturday while Tracy finished his mid-term and on Sunday we had a beach morning and an evening cookout with friends. All these things combined to improve everyone's mood. Let's hope the aura lasts; if dispositions begin to turn I suppose I can just break out the popsicles again!

Returning from the "Y" this morning the girls and I had a big scare. As we headed homeI could see black billowing smoke on the horizon. The closer we got, the more the smoke (growing blacker and more enormous by the mile) appeared to be coming from the vicinity of our house. I felt myself holding my breath as we drove nearer; the drive lasted an eternity and when we saw our home I could finally exhale.

Then relief that it wasn't my house mixed with awareness that it did belong to someone else (there is a small possiblity the house is uninhabited, and I am hoping this is the case) . The girls were very upset by the sight of such a gigantic blaze, as well as the sound of fire engines and rescue vehicles rushing to the scene. It truly was a jaw-dropping, knots-in-your-stomach sight. India quietly asked "Mommy, can fire make kids get dead?". Wow. I wanted to be honest, so I answered that yes, sometimes it can. She asked LOTS of questions during lunch, and then solemnly said "I feel sad about the fire". Me too, India.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Today's adventure was a trip to the "Chicken Mall". This is what India calls the mall in Salisbury, MD, an hour drive north to civilization. They have one of those soft, germ-infested play areas that is poultry themed (home of Perdue, natch) and the girls love it.

We went to meet my friend Lois and her two girls, Tricia and Claudia, who live about an hour north of the Chicken Mall. It's a good halfway point for us. India has been just beside herself with excitement: seeing Claudia, playing in the Chicken Mall and eating "puff chicken nuggets" in the food court is the stuff of dreams for her.

What are "puff" chicken nuggets, you say? Recently when traveling across VA we stopped at Wendy's for dinner and the girls had chicken nuggets (they even order what we call El Nuggets when we eat Mexican), and India just didn't care for the Wendy's variety. She gave quite a soliloquy about the difference between McDonald's and all others, proclaiming that McDonald's chicken nuggets are "puff", which she explained as meaning fluffy and soft. This is because the McDonald's version is less like real chicken, a quality that our children seem to respect. The ironic thing about all of this is that they don't have fast food very often, yet they are obsessed with it. I was pulling out of the drugstore drive-thru yesterday and Kate yelled out "Where me chicken nuggets?!!"... anyone remember "Cook, bring me hasenpfeffer!" from Bugs Bunny?

Anyway, back to our trip. It was hellish. It began with India having to go to the bathrooms 4 TIMES in 45 minutes and ended with both girls taking less than half of the nap they normally have. In between they acted like maniacs. And although they talked incessantly about the chicken nuggets, did they eat them? No way. An hour later they both cried and professed that they were starving. Lois may never want to see us again. Bad day. Again. How do people with more than 2 kids do it? All I can say is TGIF and bring on the margaritas.

(happier day in San Diego)

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Yesterday. Oh, what a day.

Part I:
To the "Y" by 8am for an exercise class. Quick shower (no time for lotion, deod, hairdryer), pick up new babysitter and drive home 65 mph while firing off instructions...babysitter is now scared of me...get new babysitter acclimated to house and girls, leave and drive 70 mph to doctor's office. Wait an hour, see doctor, drive 70 mph home and pick up babysitter, take her home while trying in vain to keep Kate from nodding off in the car, shove food in the girls' mouths to get them down for naps at 1:00 so I can provide clinical supervision for a Master's candidate at 1:30. Kate stops crying at 1:20; my student didn't show.

Part II
Fervently begin baking cookies for a cookout with college friends who are camping on the Shore. Get girls up from naps, dressed and ready for Tracy's arrival. Load the car and drive 30+ min to the campground. Ten minutes before arrival it begins to thunder, lightening, and rain buckets. Enter the campground, request a pass and are informed that they must charge us $12 per person (including the children) to enter. Spend 20 minutes waiting and strategizing, sneak into the campground; the weather becomes monsoonal. Tracy volunteers our house. Another 20 minutes of finagling and beer spillage in my van which is now reeking of brewery. Another 30+ minute drive home our friends, their 3 children and their dog arrive at our FILTHY house. On the way fed the girls 4 cookies each as it ws 1.5 hours past dinner. Had a great visit, which I attempted to document via camera (the 10 year old twins had a great time dressing their 6 year old brother in dress up finery) but my battery died after the first photo shown below. Our guests didn't leave and we didn't get the girls to bed until 9:45 (they usually hit the sack at 8:00). Then the thunderstorms hit...The girls were up at 5:30 this morning, and FOUL. Tracy and I are FOUL. Loooonnnngg day with short people! Let's hope we all rest well tonight.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

It's been a busy, HOT, but very fun extended weekend at the Turman house. My parents arrived Saturday morning and stayed with us until mid-day today. During their visit we enjoyed everything we could think of that the Shore has to offer: Arts in the Park festival, local seafood, locally made wine from my friends' Chatham Vineyards, Cedar Island, Cape Charles beach, and the Accomac July 4th parade. The only exception was skipping the Wachapreague Carnival, only because it was too stinkin' hot! Our biggest adventure by far was the trip to Cedar Island. The above picture is the Wachapreague dock about 5 minutes from our house (the carnival is just to the right but a little to small to see in this photo). Since we don't have a boat we rented a small skiff to make the trip. Either the engine was running poorly or we just had too much paraphernalia and people on the boat, but it took us double the normal half hour to make it out to Cedar Island! Other boats were passing us and looking on in concern; we were not even going fast enough to outrun the greenheads and thus were getting eaten alive despite dousing ourselves in DEET. The girls were hot and cranky and not once but twice India had to urinate into a sand bucket during the long journey. Once we arrived we discovered that the skates and nettles (local vernacular for jellyfish) were so prevalent that we gave up swimming and Kate and India were weepy and CRANKY during part of the time, but the scenery was beautiful and for most of the day we had the island to ourselves. Dad and Tracy caught some keepers, as well as a huge skate and a sea turtle; Dad risked life and limb to pull the hook from his very angry mouth. Didn't get a photo of that one; I was too busy playing physician's assistant.

On Monday Tracy worked so Mom, Dad and I took the girls to a bayside beach in Cape Charles, where there were fewer bugs, no skates, smaller nettles, and LOTS of low tide swimming. Much better trip! A dinner of fresh fish and clams completed the day.

Today was my parents first visit to the Accomac 4th of July parade, an event of such small-town sweetness that it might just raise your insulin level. It is the picture of small-town "community" in every sense of the word. This parade was started by 4 families about 40 years ago, and has grown to what you see here. Local families chip in to pay for the popsicles that are given out once the destination is reached. The Eastern Shore Community Band plays patriotic music, and parts of the Declaration of Independence are read. Friends are everywhere, and I love that when I look around I see children that our girls are growing up with.

Thanks, Mom and Dad for a wonderful visit. Hope you and yours had a wonderful, relaxing weekend and July Fourth holiday!