Maria at Camp Onas

The tiny dancer is now a big fifth grader, and her school year started with a bang. The fifth graders go on an overnight retreat to a place called Camp Onas, which is about an hour north of us. Chelsea went along as a chaperone. The camp is pretty rustic – bunkhouses have canvas flaps for walls, and apparently it got pretty cold out there. But the kids had a blast, as they always do.



One of the highlights of the retreat is a ride on a zipline:



Having gone on my own first-ever zipline ride earlier this summer, I was jealous. In fact, I remembered that Chelsea had also chaperoned for Nick when his grade did this trip a couple years ago. She knows a good time when she sees one. I told Chels when she got back this time that I want to come along for Anna’s grade in three more years.


Happy birthday, dear Anna

Our little baby turned 7 this month. Amazing.


For her kid party this year, Anna wanted a sleepover party, and we weren’t sure her friends were quite ready for that. Chelsea and I had visions of a 3:00 a.m. kid taxi service dancing in our heads, as our guests decided that they’d rather be home in their own beds.

So we split the difference: We had a pajama party that ended at 9:30 p.m., so the kids could go home to bed for the night. Putting together this party was a lot of fun for everyone. We decided to show a movie:



And we served “breakfast for dinner”, featuring these delightful bunny pancakes made by our in-house chefs, Mary and Nick:




For their party craft – a Sperger family mainstay in party planning – the kids made their own pajamas, complete with sleep mask:


And no birthday party would be complete without cake:


The kids had a great time, and I think the adults enjoyed this theme too.

Wait, what?

Gentle readers, where did that week go? I had an incredibly busy week at work, since my boss, his boss, and his boss were all here in Philadelphia for meetings. It’s a tough life, readers, what with all of the corporate expense account meals. I survived, but only just.

Let’s see if we can get back on the blogging wagon this week.

To start with, it wasn’t entirely all work and no play last week. Chelsea and I got to see the Phillies play the Braves on Wednesday. This late-season treat was made even sweeter when we had the chance to sit for a few innings with our cousins, the Kings, who were sitting only a few sections away from us.


Naturally, in the hubbub of last week I forgot to bring my camera along with me. The following photo is not mine, but comes from another Flickr user who was at the game the night before, when Roy Halladay won his 20th game of the season:

Halladay's 20th-rally towels

They’re handing out the towels at every home game for the end of the season. Too cool.

End of the summer

Leaves are falling, the air is cool and crisp at night, and we had our last weekend at the pool over the Labor Day holiday. There were games and prizes for the kids, and we got a nice chance to hang out with our ‘pool friends’ one more time.


Anna got to take part in a coin toss game in the pool, which was about as orderly and calm as cracking open a piƱata at a birthday party… it was pretty much the same idea, too:






Big sister Maria very sensibly stayed on the sidelines to watch… also because, well, she was too old for it:


Chelsea even got to coo and fuss over a cute baby, which is definitely one of her favorite ways to pass some time:


So we bid goodbye to summer, with a warm invitation to come back next year.

The birthday girl

Anna turned seven over the weekend. Seven years old! Seems like just yesterday we were up all night welcoming our girl:



She’s looking a little older now:


At Anna’s request, she and I took all of her American Girl dolls to the playground yesterday afternoon so they could ride the swings:



Later in the day, also at the birthday girl’s request, we went to Rita’s for dessert:




The parents look proud but a little tired, which is pretty much the default state of parenting:


For those of you who are wondering if Cinderella is missing out on a proper party and stuff, no worries – we have a kid party and a family gathering soon to come.

Welcome home, Gramps!

We interrupt this blog with a special announcement: The Sperger paterfamilias, Gramps, is finally home from hospital and rehab after taking a spill a few weeks ago.


Welcome home, you handsome devil!

Girls’ room: Brass and wood

Back to the renovation: When fixing up the girls’ room, I wanted to have a go at restoring some of the original fixtures and materials in the room. The wood floor is original to the house, circa 1930, and is pretty battered, but we didn’t want to go to the trouble of a complete sanding and refinishing this time around. Someday we’ll get around to that. We’d also like to refinish the doors in the house, which were originally finished with a varnish that flakes off if you tape something to a door or crash into a door. The brass fixtures on the doors, also original to the house, have probably not been cleaned and polished in decades, if ever.

I need to post up a ‘before’ picture of a brass doorknob so you can see the difference… it’s like night and day:


For the floor, we had to figure out what kind of finish it originally received – in all likelihood, tung oil – and then treat the floors accordingly. For a tung oil finish the best answer is to wash the floor with mineral spirits (smelly, but not harmful to the wood) and then apply a liquid paste wax. We ended up doing three coats of wax, which helped restore some shine to the floor:


Back to school!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year… this morning we sent the girls off to their first day of school, emptying out the house and bringing summer to a close. Nick started back to school yesterday. Here are the three amigos heading out the door this morning:


The new school year brings a return to soccer, ballet, school projects, and making lunches first thing in the morning. This year Nick is in 8th grade, Maria is in 5th grade, and Anna is in 2nd grade. Time flies.