Saturday, December 20, 2008

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Apple Picking

Declan had never been apple picking! How remiss was I?!?!


Well, here comes a flurry of posts!

My computer hasn't been uploading photos, and although *I* think I am the most interesting person (smile), I do think the pictures make it a bit more exciting.

Ella got her braces on her teeth, and she seems to be doing fine. Everyone told us that the spacers were the worst part, and *now* I believe them.

Isn't she adorable in braces?

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Skim Boarding

This summer skill was WAY harder than it looked. I could barely even stand on that slippery thing!

Declan may be able to do it by next summer. We'll see. He is trying hard, that is for sure!

Hurricane Waves

Hurricane waves make for the best body surfing! And a good heart racing workout for me on the beach :)

Good practice, I guess, for watching my kids take the risks they will take all their lives as they live and learn. It is hard to watch them give of themselves, and not count the risks. They wholly love their friends, their family and the gifts of the Universe as they are presented.

They dive right in.

They might get hurt.

But, as I see it, my job is to watch and advise. I would rather have them dive in and learn from the world. I don't want them to be cautious because of *my* fear. That would hurt them in more ways than a few bumps and bruises from being tossed to the shore by a big old wave.

Plus, I am waiting here, on shore, to help with a big sun warmed blanket and kisses and hugs, and yes, even CPR and lifesaving training.

Summer Memories

This summer's big deal was boogie boarding and body surfing. It was really fun to watch the kids learn how to do this. I have so many great memories of that feeling of coasting along on the top of the water. And feeling the waves crashing over your head. Some of best childhood days were spent that way.

It is pure joy to see my children having the same enjoyment of the sea.

In August, we have a week called Old Home Week. One of the events is the fire trucks shooting foam and then the bonfire. The whole village seemed to show up!

The foam made the sand PERFECT for squishing in a burying your whole body.

The bonfire was perfect for a cute outfit and some fun with friends!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Leap of Faith

She is SO BRAVE.
I learn from her every day.
Love it.

Ocean Swimming

This summer has been pretty amazing, and I think it is in part because my kids are so comfortable in the water. This is the first summer in about a decade that I have not been to the beach with a kid needing me *in* the water with me. Today, we skipped down to our local pond for a quick dip. After the thunderstorms last night, there was a definite chill to the water that I was not ready for.

As much as I love fall, it is coming at me too fast and I plan to suck all the summer out of the next few weeks as I can.

Sunday, August 10, 2008


We have been so lucky this year to have great friends come to visit. One of the best was these beautiful girls and their mama who were our neighbors for a fun filled week. Don't let the sweet, innocent grin fool you. This girl is a nut with a whoopie cushion or a joke camera!
This just says it all.
Declan was quite patient with all the girl-y energy. Water helps.

Joy's Summer

Joy has had quite the summer. First she got an infection and was cold all the time. Then, she needed a cone for all her itches, and finally the guests have taken their toll.
Such a pitiful baby!
Then, she wore her cone and contacted aliens who turned her eyes all glow-y and possessed. Spooky.
Phew! Back to normal.
Until this little guy to visit. Oh, sure, he looks cute, but he is puppy! Play, play, play, play, play, eat Joy's food, play, play, play, walk, play, play. Joy's schedule is more like nap, nap, play, nap, quick pee, nap, cuddle, play, nap....She is so very patient with the kids, even the littlest ones who are intrigued by all her facial folds.
I love this last picture. It is so funny to me. Ella looks all beached-out, the puppy is so cute, and Joy looks like she really really needs a return to her nap-heavy schedule. *grin*.

The Simple Things

Ah....the simple pleasure of some things! This is a hermit crab (you probably knew that). But, it began life as a one of those little tablets that you place in water and watch grow.

Since then, it has been a scientific experiment, a photo art model, and has now inspired some pretty awesomely designed digs on my kitchen counter.

Strangely, unlike most things in my house it has no name. Suggestions, anyone?

Friday, August 8, 2008

Declan's Lego Birthday

My sweet sweet six year old. I love this little face so much!
The Minifig says "Happy Birthday Declan" :)
Okay, so I can't have a career in cake making. That is for sure. I keep trying, and goddess bless his little heart, Declan always thinks the cake is great. At least this was better than the Poke ball fiasco of 2006. But, I have to admit that somehow the red of the Poke ball and the "red" of this cake were somehow that same light shade (of "not pink").

The "before" picture in the reverse home makeover that is any birthday celebration.
And then there is the after. So much better :)

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


Here is an article I recently wrote that I thought fit in nicely here.

Vacations have been a casualty of our lifestyle. When child number two came along, air travel went the way of my old used BMW that didn’t fit two car seats. As we hang on to our now old gas sucking minivan, road trips from New England to the Grand Canyon will have to wait until we have that solar car. But, even still, I have scrapbooks filled with photos of my children making memories with family and friends. We have souvenirs from museums and train rides and boat tours. We have had the best vacations ever and the cheapest too. We vacation in our own backyard.

Well, not literally the backyard, although we have done that too. We take short trips to nearby places. These trips are as memorable, wonderful, and relaxing as I remember trips to Disney or the Black Hills of South Dakota, or Ireland, or New Orleans. In fact, they may be even more so for a few reasons. There is little time off work, maybe a day or two tacked on to a weekend. Generally, we are close enough to get to our family physician in a day. We speak the language. Our pets don’t need a kennel. My credit card is not getting filled to bursting. We know we can go back if we get too tired to do it all in one day or weekend.

You have probably had the experience of having guests visit and using them as an excuse to go to a somewhere everyone raves about, but you have never been. That is the idea behind The Best (Cheapest) Vacation. Think about what you want to see that is close to home. We generally try to go only about a half a day’s drive away or less. Here in New England, that can take us to the Berkshires or New York City, Mystic Aquarium in Connecticut or Harvard Square in Cambridge.

Typically, though, we stay much closer to home. So how do you make those short trips to vacation successful? We follow a few simple rules every time.

Plan, Plan, Plan
We visit our areas Chamber of Commerce on line. Request brochures, read online reviews, look at guidebooks. Act as though you are going somewhere you have never been and plan what you want to see when you are there. Get out a map and plan a route you might not ordinarily take. Maybe it is more scenic, maybe more highway driving.

In your planning, find out discounts, free weekends or weekdays. After all, you can go whenever you want and if the historical reenactment place you have wanting to go to is free the whole month of January, plan your trip around that.

Ethnic neighborhoods have some wonderful festivals that you can plan around. The Portuguese fishing village near you might have a blessing of the fleet, or the Greek neighborhood an open air festival. Perhaps a Swedish area has a particularly lovely Christmas stroll. An area you have driven by a million times can become a rich source of family memories. If it is close enough, you may discover a new yearly tradition. On one of our jaunts, we found out the Newport, Rhode Island St. Patrick’s Day Parade is outrageous. We had heard it was big, but being from Boston, I thought I knew big St. Paddy’s Day celebrations. The parade was so long, we left and went back to the hotel, took a swim, and then came back to see the end.

Frequently, if you live near a vacation spot, you can find excellent off season or last minute rates. And you are already in the area, so ask around. Make some calls and be glad you aren’t paying long distance rates! Some spots have discounts for locals, winter weekend packages, or rooms that will go for a song if you can be there right now for the weekend.

Travel in Style
Maybe your family likes diners, so plan to stop a few. A three hour drive can be a leisurely ride from breakfast diner to lunch diner with apple picking in between. We also like to stop somewhere really nice or super-cool on our way home. We’ve stopped at Polynesian restaurants with fire dancers, those places where you get the food cooked at your table, and found a McDonald’s with the best climbing structure around. Sometimes a rental car with great gas mileage that you can pack lots of road food in is cheaper than filling your pick-up truck’s gas tank and having to stop every few miles for snacks from the back.

Travel in whatever style suits you. My kids love to get up when it is dark, wear their pjs in the car, and get dressed in a rest stop. To them, this screams VACATION. They love rummaging around in a big cooler in the backseat and having a book on tape. If you are only going an hour away, it may seem a little silly, but this is how memories are made.

One of the things that make a vacation a vacation is a huge pile of pictures. Get each kid a camera. Take tons of pictures. Develop them. Pick up whatever little bits of paper float your way and stick them all in a book. In this internet age, my older child has made vacation blogs of digital pictures. Make online photo albums and invite friends to view your “vacation photos” of your hometown.

Definitely act like tourists. Taking pictures gets you in the mood for this. If you were in Paris, you would take your picture in front of the Eiffel Tower, wouldn’t you? So, go ahead. Stand like goofs in front of that statue in your town square. Heck, find out who that statue is of and why he’s there!

You may not be as crazy as we are, but we have been known to go so far as to strike up conversations with people explaining that we are touring and asking the “locals” advice. In this way we learned how to shellfish, which I never considered doing. Once, on one of our “trips”, we were so carried away that when we ran into someone we knew a couple of towns over, we greeted her with, “What are you doing here?”

Be the Tourist
Lastly, it is all in the attitude. I can’t stress this enough. You have to believe you are on vacation. Use some pixie dust if necessary. Definitely carry a camera around your neck and wear a t-shirt that proclaims where you originate from. If you look like a tourist, act like a tourist, and think like a tourist, people will treat you that way and the illusion will be complete.

Whoever said that vacation was a state of mind was right. I have the pictures to prove it.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Declan and the Ladies

Declan loves his friends. He especially loves his girl friends :) We met his friend at story time at the library. They kept skootching closer to each other to listen to the story.
This one said he could be part of her BFF (best friends forever) club. Declan said he thought that was "a little bizarre", but was pleased as punch to be in "the club."

Monday, July 7, 2008


This is when the building begins.
Throwing all the wood over the sea wall.
We don't actually build a bonfire ourselves. Our neighbors are the ones who really coordinate "our" section of the beach's fire. So we all always try to help out. See little Declan and Boston crossing the rocks for more wood? What beachy troupers.
They are getting bigger...and bigger... and they are going to be SO BIG!
Oh, yeah, baby, they are ready for some flame!!

These were really beautiful this year. Sometimes, the temperature, the tide and the wind all coordinate to make some really beautiful fires. But, alas, with all the fireworks going off and the kids running wild, once the flames started I *had* to put the camera down!

Fourth of July Talent Show

Well, it was really the 3rd, but that's how we roll.

Among other festivities, we had the annual Talent Extravaganza.

Ella MC'ed and coordinated the talent (which is a bit like herding cats, but she got the job done!).

The karate girls. Unfortunately, I couldn't get the camera to get a clear picture of the kicks. Even in the sand, don't they look strong, focused and intense? Uh huh, they are.

The girly-girls doing the Cotton-Eyed Joe remix dance to The Dog Song by Nellie McKay.

The diaper dance karate improv roll in the sand having fun routine!

Oh, this was coerced participation in the show. Ella: "You can pretend to kill each other!" The boys: "YEAH! Then we'll DO IT!!"

Everyone took a nice bow :) We couldn't quite get our diapered lady to join in, but she got plenty of applause, too.