Archive for the ‘The Rest’ Category

First Day of School 2015

Wednesday, August 26th, 2015

Today was the first day of Kindergarten for Caroline and First Grade for Evan and all-day-Mommy-all-to-himself for Lincoln. Linc celebrated by getting up at 4:30 am and not taking a real nap ALL DAY. Luckily because he was the old kid I had to take care of I put my babywearing skillz to use and wore him all day. It means I blew my 10,000 step goal on FitBit out of the water PLUS my house is starting to look more like a place people would want to live and less like a nuclear bomb exploded. I have hopes that in a month I might get to the bottom of the Summer Crap Piles and start putting away the I’m Not Really Sure Where This Goes Things and then MAYBE I can add some Adorable Vintage Decorative Knicknacks That Look Good In Instagram Photos.

The morning bus came almost on time, which was great because I didn’t have to spend 45 minutes worrying I had somehow missed it or debating driving the kids to school myself. I was busy talking to the bus driver and forgot to a) take bus pictures and b) hug the kids goodbye but they cared exactly zero percent. Both report they had great days and Caroline’s report was backed up by a super short phone call from her teacher telling me she was great. Caroline also reports she has a new best friend named Bella. Evan reports “Mom I was good, NOW can I use the iPad?” Since I didn’t get a call to the contrary, I allowed it.

I’m really excited about this school year FOR them. Evan’s teacher is doing something called The Responsive Classroom, which sounds like exactly the kind of emotional and structured culture that he really responds to. As long as we can stay on top of his at-home reading he should have a great 1st grade year. Caroline cannot get enough of her letters and her desire to write is incredible, so I expect she will be very sad when she wakes up on Saturday and DOESN’T get to go to school.

These are from last night at Open House and this morning before school (all taken with my rented wide-angle lens which is super fun):

 

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Lake of the Woods 2015

Thursday, August 20th, 2015

My parents lake house/future retirement house is pretty awesome. I mean, it’s no beach mansion, but it does have boats, a swim platform AND grandparents, which completely makes up for the lake of bathrooms. Not that there are NO bathrooms. There just aren’t 9 bathrooms. But it’s ok, since we taught the kids they can just pee in the lake.

Please don’t judge me for, well, any of this. Lincoln loves everything about the water, he was always in a life jacket when he was on boats/tubes and we didn’t go fast if we were towing him. We’ll wait until he’s at least 3 before we make him try water skiing.

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Southwick’s Zoo

Thursday, August 13th, 2015

I lived in Massachusetts for a few years in elementary and middle school, which is one of the reasons I like living in New England so much – it reminds me of all the fun stuff I did as a kid. My parents/school/church youth group loved Doing Stuff so I Did A Lot Of Stuff between the ages of 9 and 14. We went to amusement parks and museums and cities and zoos, and one of the places I have vague memories of is Southwick’s Zoo in Mendon, Mass. This week we went up to check it out during the day trip portion of our summer vacation, since it’s only about 75 minutes away.

What I didn’t remember is that it’s a private zoo (I’m not sure I even knew that was still a thing?) and that it’s in the middle of nowhere. Our GPS took us down what I swear was a 3 mile driveway to a grass field…that turned out to be the parking lot. But the inauspicious entrance didn’t mean the zoo was a disappointment – in terms of animals they had more variety than our much-beloved Roger Williams Park Zoo. Plus they had the deer forest. I love the deer forest. We all love the deer forest, even E, although after I discovered how much he loved the baby goat farm I’m not sure why I’m surprised.

Southwick’s Zoo had a really nice military discount too (E was free, the rest of us were half-price) so it is definitely worth the drive for us. My tips: show up right at 10 am, park close to the entrance, and pack a picnic lunch in your car so you don’t have to buy zoo food. Let your kid pick ONE ride each (Evan picked the Skyfari, Caroline took a pony ride) and don’t waste money on the other tourist trap stuff. Bring lots of quarters for deer food. There are a ton of hills and it’s surprisingly big (my Fitbit said we walked 4.87 miles) so wear comfortable shoes. Wearing Linc was definitely a better choice than pushing a stroller up the huge hill at the end of the day would have been.

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The tiger had a huge enclosure but was hanging out RIGHT next to the building. It must have been feeding time.

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She saw an ape swinging from some ropes and was AMAZED.

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It was clear they’ve done (and are doing) a lot of improvements/updates to the zoo, which were really nice. Zoos sometimes make me a little sad, but conservation and awareness seemed to be a big part of their program (for the record, this isn’t sponsored or endorsed, I just liked it).

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Not tall enough for anything. Yet.

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You’re not allowed to put the corn in a plastic bag, so we used the hat Lincoln refused to wear.

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We couldn’t give Linc the corn to feed the deer because he kept eating it.

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IS THAT NOT THE FAKEST-LOOKING DEER YOU’VE EVER SEEN IN YOUR LIFE? I’ve seen taxidermied deer that look less animatronic.

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Charleston Photos 2015

Wednesday, August 12th, 2015

I went to the College of Charleston in Charleston, SC. When I was looking at colleges, I picked out ones with strong marine biology programs because I was 1000% sure I wanted to be a marine biologist when I grew up. And look how that worked out! Here I am, an extremely successful marine biolo- what? I’m not actually a marine biologist, because sometimes the thing you decided you wanted to be when you were 7 years old isn’t a thing you are actually good at? I never would have believed you when I was 17.

When I was 16 I learned to scuba dive and went on a 3 week dive trip in the British Virgin Islands, which made me even more sure I wanted to be a biologist. One of my instructors/adult supervisors was named Will and he was a professor at the College of Charleston. He also drove a motorcycle and had a huge scar on his leg from where he was bitten by a nurse shark once. I figured if C of C was cool enough to have him as a professor, then I should definitely go there.

After I narrowed my college choices down to a handful, my mom and I drove south for 8 hours to visit the schools I was thinking about. We drove down I-95, took the exit for I-26 and followed that directly into downtown Charleston. I hadn’t even gotten out of the car before I decided that was where I was going. During the campus tour I barely paid attention because it didn’t matter – I was moving to Charleston. My mom suggested I apply to some of my other schools at back ups, which I did, but only because they didn’t require essays. There was no point. I was so in love with Charleston I would have moved there even if I hadn’t gotten in.

You can tell I really love my husband because I was willing to leave my favorite city to be with him, although I did insist my entire family, all my friends, his entire family, most of his friends, plus my husband himself (who had been transferred to San Diego) all come back to Charleston for the wedding.

It’s just a perfect coincidence that Kiawah, the site of our borrowed beach house, is just outside Charleston. This year my college roommate (who feels the same way about Charleston as I do, at least I’m pretty sure) had the good idea to stay an extra night in the city before the beach, so we could eat there and walk there and take pictures there without dragging all the kids back in from the beach. I think we’ll make it a tradition, so I can get a picture of my kids in this alley every year for the rest of their lives.

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Our hotel is that one right behind Evan. I’ve alway wanted to stay there, and not just because I love that fountain.

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That restaurant is where my college roommate and her husband got married, so obviously we all had to go there.

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That pink house is the narrowest house in the city, less than 15 feet. I would live in it in a second.

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Kiawah Island 2015

Tuesday, August 11th, 2015

This is our fifth year in this borrowed beach house, but only the second time E has been able to come. Technically he was there for 24 hours last year, but I did the 2 day drive by myself so that doesn’t count as being there. He drove this year, the whole way, and I got to sleep and hand stuff to the kids in the back which is the perfect start to vacation. It turns out Linc is an amazing road tripper and his presence barely slowed us down, so the driving was well worth the end result.

Kiawah is amazing. It’s an incredible vacation just because of the setting, but the key to a true dream vacation is to have more bathrooms than you have adults. Never having to wait for a bathroom or use a bathroom on the same floor where everyone is eating or worry someone is hearing you in the bathroom or having to take a cold shower because everyone else used up the hot water is an amazing luxury. It’s why rich people are so much happier than regular people. Bathrooms.

Bathrooms are especially key when the main sources of beach house entertainment are eating and drinking and drinking. We’ve gotten pretty good at our menu and consolidating our shopping down to two big trips and then only a few smaller trips for emergency supplies (like limes, and another 5 pound bag of sugar since we managed to use the first one up in less than 36 hours). There was cake and more cake and an apple crisp and Lowcountry Boil, which is seafood and corn and sausage, and Bo Ssam, which is huge plates of pork with rice and lettuce and ginger sauce, and one thousand cocktails, which is the appropriate number of cocktails on vacation. We ate until we could barely move and then we played cards, because even though we were on vacation we are all responsible adults now and can’t get falling down drunk at 2 pm. I like cards better than throwing up anyway.

I took thousands and thousands of pictures, culled and edited them down to several hundred, and I uploaded exactly 100 photos for this post. I know that’s a ridiculous number and I ought to feel bad about my self-indulgence, especially because even though there were 7 adults and 6 kids at the beach house 99% of my pictures of just of my children. But I don’t. While we were in the kitchen, trying to remember specifics from previous years, one of my friends pulled up pictures from a previous year. I was surprised she still had them on her laptop, but she said actually she didn’t, she just looked at them on my blog. So it’s my duty to document this glorious vacation for posterity. Or at least so I can show the kids in a couple months and remind them that they are some very lucky children.

Previous years: 2011 2012 2013 2014

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There is a hair in my lens. It makes that shadow in the top right and the line just left and below center. If I print anything I will take the time to clone it out, but for now I don’t care enough. It ONLY shows when I photograph landscapes/sky at 28mm.

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