A day by the sea

We took a day trip to the Atlantic today. Lex wasn’t interested in spending all day at the beach, and Eve would like to live at the beach, so we came up with a compromise. We drove to Portsmouth to check out Prescott Park (thanks for the recommendation, Rosy!!). The park is beautiful and we found a bagel place for lunch. Win-win. I would love to explore the little shops in Portsmouth, but my teenagers were not interested in that today. :)

One of the park gardens. They were really beautiful.

The park faces the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, so there were lots of interesting boats to see.

Also a cool looking bridge. We laughed at the people on those little boats in front as they held on for dear life when a big boat came by, creating crazy rocking waves. :)

We were happy to get a chance to see the bridge go up! Can you see the sail boat below with the tall mast?

We walked in to the village to find food. I liked this menu. :)

I wanted to take our bagels back to the park for a picnic, but the kids opted for tables and AC, so we ate at the restaurant then walked back to the car, then headed for the beach!

I wanted to stop at the lighthouse, but the kids didn’t want to do that, so I did a drive by instead. :) We saw all the big houses and amazing views. We saw what must have been a million dollar child’s birthday party going on at one of the seaside mansions! I wanted to crash it, but the kids vetoed me again! Dang teenagers! LOL.

We got to Short Sands Beach in York, Maine and spent a few hours in the water. It was mid-afternoon by this point, and only in the high 70s, so we found a parking spot and plenty of room on the beach. The kids all swam, and I just stood in the water. It was too chilly for me to swim. Also, (true confessions) I don’t love swimming. Is it possible to love the ocean, but not love swimming?! I hope so, because I do! I love the waves, and the sound, and the power of it all. I love standing in the water, but feel no desire to dive all the way in.

The mermaid surveys her domain.

We had a lot of fun with this mermaid tail. Lots of looks. Several people asked if we were doing a photo shoot. I just laughed and laughed as she tried to get herself out to the deeper water. I love everything about this girl! She brings joy to everyone around her. <3

Three in the sea.

I didn’t swim, but I didn’t exactly stay dry either! :)

When we were all done in the water the kids changed back into clothes (they were chilly!) and we went to The Goldenrod for dinner and their infamous salt water taffy! Dinner was ok, the company was entertaining, and the taffy, as always, is fantastic!

And now, your moment of Zen.

Mermaids at the lake

We had a break in the rain today so I decided to take everyone to the lake! We brought a few friends along. It was low 80s, sunny, and a really lovely afternoon. The girls swam, some boys kayaked, other boys read, and the moms chatted.

Mermaids at the lake

Reminds me of a recent whale watch. :)

Just lounging about

Lex didn’t actually want to come, but he did a great job putting up with it and keeping the complaining to a minimum. He wasn’t in the mood to swim, so while the girls were in the water….

Fun in the sand

Lex was in the shade! :)

Do you see him way back there?! :)

We stayed for a few hours, then headed home. Ready for another rainy day tomorrow.

A new lake

After a week of begging, I finally gave in and took Eve to the lake.  Um, I mean, we went to the lake today and had a great time!  We decided to check out a new (to me) lake that I’ve heard great things about.  Lex went two weeks ago on a school field trip and said it was definitely a great place to go.  Unfortunately he was in no mood to go today.

Eve, playing with the ducks. Sadly all of her friends are in camps this week and Lex wasn’t in the mood for swimming.  I did my best to be her pal, but she definitely tried to befriend the ducks too.

The ducks were pretty friendly.

The sweet beach babe had fun. We bought a float, rented a paddle boat for awhile, played on the playground, and ate unlimited SunChips and watermelon. Good times.

I snuck in a little of this too. :)

We came home exhausted and only a little bit burned. Luckily our cool house and welcoming screens were there to greet us. :)

Sunny weekend

We had a lovely sunny weekend. On Saturday Eve had her Girl Scout pinning ceremony. She’s still a Girl Scout, but now with more pins and badges!

Taking an oath, I think. I was a little distracted by Arlo.

Awww…. they used to fit in these baby swings!

Then Sarah came to sleep over afterwards. This morning they woke up at 5am asking to go swimming. Wheee!! We decided to hit up our old favorite, Lake Pineo, before they officially open next weekend and start excluding non-association members. :/

It was a beautiful day!

Swimming. Eve is in there somewhere too. Maybe behind Sarah. Or maybe underwater. You just never know with that girl.

These two are going places in life! :)

I wish they would let us swim here all summer. It’s such a perfect beach.

Then we got lunch as the Quechee Snack Bar (deep fried everything!) and washed it all down with some ice cream. Then home for an afternoon on the computers. :) Happy Sunday. I’d like to say Happy Summer Vacation, but alas, four more days.

Swimming in November

Eve had an assignment to take a picture of herself at her favorite spots in town for a social studies project. She chose the river. It was a beautiful afternoon and the kids had a half day of school, so we decided it would be a good day to take a trip to the river. Despite my protests and reminders that is November, she insisted on bring her bathing suit and googles with every intention of swimming. She was even upset that she couldn’t find her snorkel. She’s a wild one, that girl!


Eve at her favorite place in town.

Then this happened. Of course.


It’s November, in Vermont, but hey, let’s go swimming!

As it turns out, the water as pretty cold. Surprise! A few weeks ago she and a friend had noticed something in the water and they thought it was a net that their class had left behind when they went to the river to study crayfish. Ever since then Eve has been committed to getting that net back. I think that was a big part of her motivation to go swimming today. That and, of course, she loves swimming!


Despite the cold, she persevered.


I sat on the shore and had fun taking pictures. :)

At one point she calls to me, “You’re lucky you’re not in this cold water, mom!” I called back, “Luck has nothing to do with it! I KNOW what river water feels like in November!” She was actually talking to me the entire way out and back. She likes narrate her world. I wonder who she got that from. :)


Yeah, this is what the river in November feels like!

She did it though! As she made her way out she began to realize her goal wasn’t actually a net at all, but a Black & Decker Weed Whacker! It was out deep enough that she had to push it back in with her foot and the stick a bit before she could pick it up. She consider just reaching down and getting her whole arm, upper body, and probably face wet, but opted to push/pull it along with the stick instead. :) As she got closer to the shore she was able to pick it up.


When she sets her mind to it, this girl can do anything! I love her commitment and passion.



Her skin was red and frigid when she got out! I toweled her off and wrapped her up as quick as possible. She loved it. :)

We weren’t sure what to do with the weed whacker though. It had been in there for many weeks and it was wet and stinky like river water. Yuck! I did not want it in my car. We brought it up to the marking lot and left it leaning against a railing. Hopefully someone will stop by and do something with it.

Eve is planning to write the story as a book and read it to her class next week. I hope she does! I’ll be sure to share here as well. It’s always an adventure when Eve is around. <3

A day at the lake

Our usual swimming hole is off limits to us this summer due to petty town politics, so we are on the hunt for a new “home” for the summer. Today we went to a large “recreation center” that has a pond, pool, playground, disc golf, canoeing, a big snack bar, camping, and more!  All for a pretty hefty price too!


Swimming in the lake.

It was fun, but maybe a few too many amenities. The kids argued about where to go first, pond or pool, and when to switch, and when to get ice cream, etc. It gave them a chance to work on their negotiation skills. :) Mostly though we had a great time!


Eve packed our picnic lunch. It was delish!


Lex, smiling with a mouthful of food. :) They are so good to humor me and my camera.


The kids thought I should take a picture of myself as well. :)

After we swam in the lake for awhile and then had a yummy picnic lunch, prepared by Eve, we headed over to the pool for some diving board fun! I went off the board a few times and let Eve “teach” me the proper way to dive. She was super excited to teach me. At one point Lex yelled “Mom, you look awesome going off the diving board!” Later he commented to Eve, “I’m so happy we got mom to jump off the diving board with us!” It didn’t take much convincing at all, but I’m super happy that they had fun and want me to have fun with them.


The diving boards were FUN!


This was supposed to be a picture of both of them jumping, but I wasn’t quite fast enough, so instead it’s Lex jumping and a big Eve splash!

After swimming and diving in the pool for awhile we headed to the snack bar for ice cream, then back to the lake. I bought a little kid sand toy set at BJs a few weeks ago and surprised the kids with it today. It was made for little kids, but my kids had a great time with it anyway. Everyone loves sand toys, especially my kids who usually are stuck with yogurt containers and other things from the recycling bin.


Back to the lake for some sand time.

Somehow I managed to sit in a chair and read a book for almost an HOUR! All by myself while the kids played and swam. It was pretty excellent.

Then we packed up and headed to karate. Unfortunately during the packing/changing/leaving process the kids decided they were just too tired for karate. I told them that while they are at karate I had to go grocery shopping, but they both chose to come to the store instead of go to karate. They were really tired!

We got the shopping done and headed home for dinner. A good day was had by all!

(… with one tiny downside. I bought new sunscreen this year, based on Consumer Reports ratings, and applied it correctly three times throughout the day… yet both kids got sunburns. :( Not horrible, but more than they should have considering my diligence with the process. I’m thinking I should go back to the Aveeno I’ve always used in the past.)

Swim team

For years now I have wanted Eve to join the swim team. She would be sooo good at it.  She is a strong swimmer, athletic, and competitive.  Perfect for swim team.  However, it is a big expense and time commitment, and she has had no interest so it hasn’t happened.  Until yesterday.

She came home last week and said she wanted to join the team.  I don’t know what changed in her mind, but suddenly she was interested.  I spent a few days researching when she could start (immediately), what the cost is (a lot) and when they practice (exact same times as karate, of course).  Yesterday we decided to go for a trial swim.  I really hoped she would like it.  Her best friend is on the team and Eve really needs more big muscle activity.  She has soooo much energy and nothing to do with it.

She was thrilled to be back in the pool.  We don’t have an aquatic center membership anymore and it has been a long time since she last swam.  Probably last summer, in a lake.  So she swam in the splash park with her friends for awhile, then headed over to the competition pool to join the team.




When they were done they joined the next level team in the bleachers, with parents and others, for an announcement on the upcoming fundraiser swim-a-thon.  When that was over and she made it back to me she broke down into baby Eve.  She snuggled in tight and told me it was too hard.  She said she didn’t know what she was doing and it was so hard and she just wants to swim her way and not be told what to do, which has always been her main reason for not wanting to join.  I’m bummed, but not surprised.  She said she wants to swim more then maybe try again another time.   I wish it wasn’t so expensive.  I should probably get a membership again.  Swimming is so good for both of them and they love it.

Cardboard boats and birthday cakes

Today Eve is 6 years and 6 days and we are officially done celebrating this birthday!

We had a fun and exhausting day today. I was talked into entering a cardboard box boat competition at the aquatic center. It was part of their annual Spring Fling to celebrate their 4th anniversary. It sounded like fun and I hoped the kids would enjoy it. We got to the aquatic center at 9am and were given a plastic garbage bag, a box cutter, scissors, packing tape, and a long list of rules. Oh, and plenty of cardboard boxes! Off and on over the next few hours we built a cardboard boat! We took breaks for snacks and for rubber duck racing.

A bored Lex

The whole project wasn’t quite as exciting for the kids as I was hoping. They did a lot of waiting around while engineer daddy did his engineering.

Trying the boat on

Trying the boat on for size.


They didn’t provide us with any measuring devices (and we weren’t allowed to bring anything of our own!) so we did the best we could. Fortunately Eve just had her well child visit and we knew just how many inches tall she is!


As usual I didn’t know the schedule of events, so the kids had about one minute to decorate their ducks before the big race!

duck racke

There were lots of ducks racing so they did them in groups. Lex and Eve’s ducks were in the final group. We had no winners in our family.


The boat is coming along nicely.


First cake of the day. They had three different cakes, so Alan and both kids got a piece and we all shared.


We decided to give our boat higher sides. Alan did some calculations about displacing water and such and the short sides were a little too short for comfort.


Now, for the moment she’s been waiting for, time to decorate!


Look how closely they are paying to Alan’s attempt at giving them rowing instructions. It was loud and busy in there. We were all tired by this point!

Smiley kids.

Smiley kids.

After we got the boat done we had about 45 minutes left until race time, so Alan and the kids changed into bathing suits and went swimming. I stayed dry. I don’t enjoy swimming when it’s so crowded.

final pratice

Suited up and ready for a dry run.


Listening for final instructions.

I really need to test the video settings before making movies. I don’t know why they keep changing and I never think to check them before starting the video, right at the moment I want to capture! Sorry for the blue tint and extremely low quality. If the aquatic center posts any better videos I’ll link to them later. What you can’t see well in this video is Eve completely panicking when the boat rocks and disolving into tears. She didn’t crying stop until about 10 minutes after she got out of the water.

in the water

This is the final picture before they went under. If you zoom in you’ll see Lex looking a little nervous and Eve completely in tears.

boat rescue

Alan jumped in and rescued the boat.

wet boat

Two happy boys, one wet boat.

So, a few lessons learned here. First, the kids are not very good rowers. Second, they were so excited about winning that the idea of NOT winning didn’t even occur to them. You can see right from the beginning that they got off to a slow start and were immediately distracted by the other teams. Third, Eve apparently didn’t think our boat was sinkable and when it started taking on water she panicked and it was all over from there. Maybe we should have spent some time discussing what to do if/when water gets into the boat.

With their young age, lack of rowing abilities, and complete lack of focus they didn’t stand a chance! Oh well. Lex had fun (though he also cried a bit because he was sad the boat sank) and I suspect if you ask Eve next week she’ll tell you it was fun too. Give her time to recover. :)

After that excitement we rushed home, inhaled bagels for lunch, grabbed the castle cake and party supplies and rushed out the door again. We were barely home for 15 minutes before leaving for her birthday party.

Gymnastic was fun. We had seven of her pre-K classmates, plus Lex and Eve. They bounced around like crazy people for awhile, then went down on the floor and did the routine for an hour, then back up for cake and presents. It was over before we knew it!

cake p1

My lovely princess castle cake! I won’t go into details on my thoughts on this cake as I know I’ve mentioned it before and everyone tells me it was wonderful so I’m going to be ok with that.

cake p2

Side view.


It’s impossible to take a good photo in this place!


Happy Birthday dear Eve!!


Alan entertained the crowd with jokes. They were all amused. :)



The gymnastics place is fun, but it’s not my ideal location for a party because there is very little time or space for the kids to just play together. It’s also a very rushed party. You get one hour of gymnastics and half hour for cake and presents. They had parties back to back today too, so as we were arriving the party before us was leaving, and we were rushing out the door at the end to allow room for the next party. Most of the kids didn’t have time to finish their cake and Eve rushed right through the presents. That said, she has been asking for a gymnastics party for a few years now and I was happy to not have to clean for and plan another birthday party! An hour and a half, in and out, and we’re done celebrating Eve’s birthday!! I’m done party planning and cake baking… until next month!

Tomorrow morning we have brunch plans with another family, and then we can rest. Monday it’s back to school!

But now, I need sleep.


On Friday Eve brought cupcakes to school to celebrate her birthday. Chocolate with pink peppermint frosting twirled on top and lots of pink and white sprinkles. Just as she requested!



After school they had their final swim lesson of the week. Mema and Grandpa Tom joined us for pizza dinner beforehand, then they came to watch the kids swim and jump off the diving board! Eve’s second time and Lex’s first. They were both SUPER excited!

I switched the camera settings between jumps. Afterwards I let them shower in the locker room (a treat!) and then we watched some college frisbee practice for awhile. A good night was had by all.