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The boy recently told me that he wanted to be a “builder” when he grew up, just like me. He then looked at his dad thoughtfully and said encouragingly, “You can be a builder when you grow up too Dad.” Poor Dad. I explained that Daddy builds things too but you can’t always see them.

A lego steampunk land-airship with boiler in the back.

lego boat with wheels

A collaborative Sculpey white tailed deer mostly done by the girl, with a little help from her brother and me. This was probably inspired by a recent trip to L.L. Bean where they have lots of native-to-Maine animal taxidermy on display. The plastic rhinestone eyes are the really old kind that had to be set with prongs. It didn’t occur to me that they might be heat sensitive, oops. Luckily the time in the oven only caused them to become less shiny and softer looking, a happy accident.

Sculpey deer with blue rhinestone eyes

They make so many things that I don’t always get pictures of everything but these were two things they particularly asked me to photograph. They set the scene themselves with the shiny snowflake papered box which they also made out of leftover Christmas wrapping.

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Admittedly, this photo is about a month old but I just realized I’d never shared it. The boy in the leaf pile. We had a great time that day, jumping in, playing leaf monster, piling on dad, etc. There’s some other things I’ve missed as well but I’m just going to offer some random favorite photos here until I get myself reorganized.

sleeping cats

Lila and Duke, curled up on the couch, just about every evening. Sometimes they let us sit with them too.


The girl, as Rudolph, with her ballet teacher, as the Nutcracker, after her very first performance. She was thrilled to be on a real stage although she did say more than once that she would have preferred to be Clara so that she could dance with her teacher. And of course she was quite enamored with all the beautiful costumes. The Maine State Ballet has a cute tradition of Father Christmas and his reindeer (the youngest ballet class) pulling the sleigh with Clara in it off the stage at the end of the ballet. It has nothing to do with the story and they are only on the stage for about 20 seconds but everyone loves it. Her brother and a special friend attended with us and all three of them sat in rapt attention through the performance. Tchaikovsky has such a universal appeal.


The girl cleared the top shelf of her bookcase of all its usual oddments and carefully arranged this sweet vignette. I had to snap a picture of it. The rose her daddy gave her after her performance in the Nutcracker, her well-loved kitty, given to her by her Nana, and Abby, her little Lego girl that I handpicked the pieces for and assembled to look like her.

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Our busy weekend started with a trip with Nana and Granddad to the SEE Science Center in Manchester, NH. Housed in one of the historic mill buildings by the river, the hands-on science center includes two floors of hands-on displays and experiments in light, sound, movement, water pressure, AND the world’s largest permanent installation of LEGO bricks built at minifigure scale (55:1). The installation is a replica of a portion of the Amoskeag Mill complex including some of the important buildings of Manchester circa 1900. It includes numerous buildings, some 8000 minifigures, more than 3 million bricks, flowing water and running trains.

largest mini-fig scale permanent LEGO installation in the world of the Amoskeag Mill complex Manchester NH train at the LEGO millyard project at SEE Science Center

I expected the LEGO buildings to be the favorite of the boy who is quite a LEGO fan. He enjoyed most of the exhibits including a pulley lift chair and was particularly interested in a set of guitar strings installed in front of a giant striped wheel which allowed you to see the sound wave patterns, which unfortunately I could not capture with the camera. Use your imagination. (Seen the original Fantasia recently? No? Check it out!)

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Me, I’ve always liked old buildings and these are quite beautiful, inside and out. The view of the old stairs are for Annie, the Mistress of Stairs. (Don’t know that about her? Ask!)

mill building on the Merrimack River, Manchester NH old stairs in mill building, Amoskeag Millyard, NH

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