Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Searching For Sea Glass

Right before we ended our weekend in Maine, we went to the rocky coast to look for sea glass and other treasures.  Looking for sea glass is really just an excuse for the adults to go for a beautiful walk along the coast of Maine.  It's a Parenting Trick we learned early on -- give the kids a ziplock baggy and something to look for, and they will won't even know they are in the fresh air, exercising.

I love to walk along a rocky coast.  I love to listen to the waves crashing and smell the sea air.  And even though I don't bring my own ziplock baggie, I confess that I too enjoy looking for sea glass.  Who doesn't?

This year, I decided to concentrate on looking for sea pottery -- bits of plates and cups that have been thrown around the ocean and washed ashore.  

Henry has found many pieces of sea pottery in this very Maine spot -- some very old and very large.  We searched and searched but only found one small piece of pottery with green flowers on one side.

Josie found some small sea glass, though:

And Gordy found a marble:

I like this photo because of the expression on Georgia's face in the left hand side.  She's saying "REALLY?!?  You found something else when I haven't found a thing, yet?  REALLY?"

We moved on to another cove and did some more walking (I mean searching!).

The scenery is gorgeous, is it not?

We couldn't stay too long.  We wanted to stop off at a zipline course we saw about 40 minutes from my parents' house and we needed to allow enough time to play there.  Right before we left, we had Elizabeth take our family photo by the water:

Good-bye, Maine.  We'll see you soon.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Gardening With Granny

My parents love to garden and when we are Maine, my girls love to join them on their daily rounds.

On this visit, Georgia and Josie helped pick blueberries, peas, sugar snap peas and tomatoes.

Dorothy, the bull dogge, helped.

The girls (human and canine) concentrated on what, in Jane Austen's time, would be referred to as a "kitchen garden."  They inspected the fruit and vegetable areas and helped remove a 3-inch long Tomato Worm from the plants.  

Granny showed the girls how to pick peas off the vine.

See?  Success!

She also showed them how to open the pod and eat the sweet peas inside.

They headed next to the blueberry bushes and picked a pint or two of berries.

They gave me one to try....

Eck!  Sour!  Very Sour!

Ha!  Just kidding.  It was actually very good - much better than the sad grocery-store berries we've been buying lately.

I got a tour of the peach "orchard."  My parents are letting these peaches ripen on the tree, so no one has tried one yet.  They looked delicious.

Josie spent some time in the potting shed, watching the captured Tomato Worm.  My mother uses the organic method of insecticide known to us all as Granny's Bucket of Death (it's really just water and dish soap) which she brings out to deal with Tomato Worms and Japanese Beetles.

I took a walk among some of the flower beds, as well.

And Josie joined me as she is wont to do.

At home, we do not have enough sunny yard to have any type of garden.  It's too bad, because the children love it so.  Perhaps, next year we'll do a container garden of some sort.

Until then, we will just enjoy the garden in Maine.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Swimming in Maine

There is a reason that Maine calls itself Vacationland:  there are mountains to climb, bike trails to ride, rivers to canoe, boutiques to browse.... the vacationing possibilities are endless.  In the winter time, we like to visit my parents in Maine and take advantage of their perfect sledding hill and icy, snow conditions.  And in the summer, we like to visit my parents and take advantage of their glorious back yard and close proximity to gorgeous beaches.  The closest beach is not one for bogie boarding, as the waves are almost non-existent, but it is the perfect place for a swim.  

Once a year, in Maine, I take a salt-water bath.

Why is that a big deal, you ask?  ha!  Obviously, you've never been to Maine and put a toe into the water.  For if you did, you would know that swimming in the Atlantic Ocean in Maine is only for the strong of heart.  

The water in Maine is FREEZING.

Entering the ocean - even in August - is an amazing feat of strength similar to what the Polar Bear Clubs do in the winter.

I like to swim in Maine with my sister, Elizabeth.  If we are both in Maine at the same time (and we usually are), Elizabeth and I will venture to the beach in our old lady bathing suits, carrying our old lady towels.

This year, the beach was covered in a thick layer of cold fog.  It is preferable to have a hot sun, but we are brave and went for it anyway.

We did sit on our towels for a moment and waited to see what Georgia and Josie thought of the water, first.

Georgia and Josie said the water was fine.  Of course, it was next to impossible for us to understand them with their teeth chattering so loudly.

There were very few people in the water.  The beach was crowded with vacationers but most were wearing fleecy coats with towels wrapped around their legs.

I only go in the ocean to swim once a year and I was determined to not wuss out in 2011.

I should take a moment and let you all know that I DO go in the water on our Block Island Vacation.  
The water is warmer in Rhode Island and I like to jump over the huge waves.  That said, I never really go past my knee caps or mid-thighs.  

The beach at Maine has more of a floating / swimming vibe and I enjoy my yearly float on my back with my sister where we can relax and gossip for a while.

It's what we do.

Henry joined us this year, but he didn't get much further than the edge.

I almost didn't get much further, myself.  After forcing myself to run quickly up to my waist, I spent the next few minutes, yelling at the girls to stop splashing me.

I kept my arms high out of the water.  I thought this might help them stay warmer longer.

Oh My Gosh, it was cold.  Every once in a while, we would hit a warm spot that I would normally think was due to some nearby child relieving himself.  Since there were no nearby children, I had no idea what the warm spots were.  I appreciated them nonetheless.

Here we are, two-thirds of The Sisters Grim, floating in the sea.

and there is Henry, still not in the water.

Actually, once you got used to the shockingly cold temperature, the water felt very good.  It's crisp and clean and rather invigorating.  I tried to get Gordy to join us, but he was having none of it.

Oh, how these pictures make me laugh.  I love the image of Henry, shivering, while his mother and aunt bob along the waves.  Next year, I am going to find Elizabeth and I a matching set of Old Lady Bathing Caps - the kind with the appliqued flowers.  Obviously, it would have made the photos even more hysterically funny.

I think this is the moment right before Henry gave up and got out of the water.

The ocean was a success to some of us, but to others, it was a big, big mistake.  

After we dried off and warmed up a bit, we took the kids to the swimming hole.  The sun was shining here and the water was a whole lot more pleasant.

Josie jumped right in:

So did Henry, but he said the water was still pretty cold.

The swimming hole is down the street from Granny & Grandfather's house and is really a river.

The children love to jump off the cement "float."

Henry was still pretty chilled from his half-emersion in the icy Atlantic.  It took him a few minutes of hot sunshine to get up the courage to go into the water.

But his desire to do flips outweighed his fear of the cold.

We can all scratch Swimming in Maine off our yearly lists of things to do!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Playtime in Maine

We spent last weekend in Maine, visiting my parents and my sister Elizabeth, who was up from Philadelphia.  At least that's the OFFICIAL story.  The real reason we made the long trek was that we are all extremely dog-deprived and we wanted to spend some quality time playing with Dorothy, Elizabeth's Olde English Bulldogge.  

Henry wasted no time upon arrival:

Granny has a strict "No Dog Playing In The House" rule so we quickly took Dorothy outside to see her in action.

Dorothy may not enjoy city walks, but she sure does love to chase children around a backyard.

And she is more than happy to chase Nellie, my parent's Tibetan Terrier, as well.

Henry was in heaven.

He loves to play with dogs.

Josie got in the action as well, although her little legs didn't provide her with any advantage over the two fast dogs.

Is there anything better than a running dog photo?  

Especially when the dog in question has large, ripply jowls?

and boy is Dorothy fast!  She even caught up to Georgia within seconds and Georgia is pretty quick.

Sadly, Dorothy ran out of steam before her cousins did and she stopped to eat a quick grass salad.

Soon she had returned to her cozy perch inside the house.

The Children Elliot still had plenty of energy to spare.  There once was a time when my children tired out quickly like sweet, little puppies, but now they are big dogs with energy reserves.  We have moved past the days of napping and "quiet time."  Instead, Henry, Georgia and Josie moved on to other sporting events.

Josie and Granny played badminton:

and Henry, Georgia and Gordy played a little wiffle ball.

Soon Gordy tired of the exercise as well and he went inside to join Dorothy on the porch.

Dorothy seemed very pleased to see him.

Ah, that Dorothy.  Isn't she terrific?
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