harrock and I just got back from visiting my parents in Maryland. There was much messing about in boats (see below) and crab cakes as Big As Your Head. Mom is mostly recovered from her bout of encephalitis, though she still has headaches, and is kind of cranky over the "no driving for six months" restriction the doctor gave her. Their house is right above the Patuxent River (the fact that I have trouble spelling this is Not Helped by the fact that there's a Pawtuxet River in Rhode Island) - their dock is the middle one here except that Google shows the old dock, before Hurricane Isabel took it out. The new dock comes with an osprey nest on a nearby post; the mom osprey is chirpily upset whenever anyone comes down to the dock. Having only ever gone there at non-Christmas season once, it was nice to be there with flowers and sitting out on the deck to watch the sunset, and mess about in a boat.
The most recent niece-anecdote making the rounds is that Amelia (age 3) has intensified her obsession with toothbrushes. She plays house with them, and tucks them into bed under their blankets, and takes them with her as her toys to playgroup. At a recent dentist's appointment, she was apparently the only kid ever who was thrilled beyond belief to be given a toothbrush at the end.