Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Last week of Summer Mom

Every good summer must come to an end.  It is always so bitter sweet to see the freedom and flexibility of summer wind down, but by August the kids and I are always kind of ready for a little change.  I love my summers with the kids.  I love that I don't have to work and I get to pretend I'm a stay at home mom.  I can play the role pretty well for a little while, but I've learned that too much unstructured time can lead to conflict amongst the troops. There is always that fine line between quality time together and getting sick of each other.  I think we've done pretty well this summer.  

On the agenda for our final weeks of summer were:

A visit to ECHO
Cally taking notes about butterflies in her notebook
checking out the butterflies
paying attention to details
 The final week of summer always means TREK for John.  He trains 50 leaders for the week leading up to the TREK trips.  This means he's super busy, but it also means that he brings the kids along to hang out with fun college kids.

costumes on for bowling night
 Hiking Mt Abe:

 My dear teaching colleague and friend, Eric Krull and I started hiking together in the summers 15 years ago.  We'd taken some breaks, but try to get out there with the kids when we can.  His girls are lovely and well matched in the hiking arena to Cal and Hazey.  After a big breakfast at their house, we set out to Lincoln Gap to hike Mt. Abe.
Ada and Cally
Exploring the summit with the Krull gals
old friends
newer friends
Very old friends!
 Sadly, we returned to my car from a wonderful day of hiking with five amazing kids to find my window smashed and Eric's wallet taken.  Grumble, grumble!  They did not take my bag with my wallet in it, but they did manage to spend $400 on Eric's bank card by noon at a grocery store?!?!?!?

Get Air-

I loathe this place, but it is possibly Hazen's favorite place on earth.  He was very eager to show me the flip he learned how to do at Bumpa and Grandma's.  It helped that Ollie and Maggie were up for the adventure and it helps that it is located a mile from where my car window was getting fixed. 

Basin Harbor 

Four days after spending such a great time with my college friends, one of them wound up staying at a resort 45 minutes from my home.  So, after jumping at Get Air, the kids were thrilled to do a lot of jumping on the floats in the lake down in Ferrisburg.

Pond Time at High Meadow 

Partial Solar Eclipse:

The kids still have a week of summer left, but I'm back at work.  They are at a great camp this week at a local elementary school and will spend some time with John, our niece Catherine, a babysitter, and friends before school begins.  They are both super fired up for school to begin. 

Monday, August 14, 2017

Family and Friends

Aunt Nif and cousin Will came up to Vermont for a visit.  We haven't had an extended spell with the Niquettes in almost a year, so they were thrilled to get ot spend some time together. We had a bunch of items on our agenda for their visit. 

stream walking at Mills River Park
Tree climbing in Shelburne Bay
Monkey kids
Exploring caves at Smugglers Notch
Spiral art at Ben and Jerry's
sad to see a great thing die in the "Flavor Graveyard"
Playing at the Smugglers Notch Bike Park
We also swam in the 8 pools at Smugglers Notch (slid and tubed down lots of slides and jumped across lily pads), lounged and played at the pool at Top Notch, made pizzas, had a campfire, and coerced Aunt Nif into helping us stack some wood (in the rain).

I left Nif and the kids on Wednesday to visit with my dear friend from graduate school in Bethel Maine.  Her son Toby is my "fairy" god son.  They were visiting from Colorado.  We forgot to take a picture, but it was great to see Shannon, Toby, and Cassidy.

The following day, Nif drove all three kids to Connecticut and I drove to Bar Harbor Maine for another amazing visit with my college friends.  I didn't realize how much I needed this break until I had it.  I got to spend four nights and four full days laughing, cooking and eating delicious food, sleeping in, relaxing, hiking, running, and laughing more.  Friendship really is one of the most important elixirs of life.  Spending several days in a row with these old friends was magical.

Did I mention that the place we stayed at amazing house and woke up to these views of Hedge Hog Island?  I am so lucky that my parents were willing to take the kids and friends that are willing to travel far to gather.  I felt a level of peace and tranquility that I haven't achieved in a very long time.

And, the kids had an awesome time with Nif, Bumpa and Grandma.  They were kept very busy-- swimming at Wee Burn, seeing an IMAX movie, going out on a catamaran, and jumping on the trampoline.  Cally came back with a cute back to school outfit and Hazen perfected his flip on the diving board and trampoline. 

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Summah Fun

We returned from Maine with more fun things on our summer of fun agenda.  I'd been wanting to hike Stowe Pinnacle, so we enlisted our hiking buddies, Ollie, Maggie and Lindsay and hit the trail.  It was a great hike and we were able to stay pretty cool while on the trail, but the summit was hot (and crowded).  The kids did great!

We spent a day at Maple Street Park and Pool with our friend Savitt:

We went to the Tar Box swimming hole:

And we attended the Festival of Fools on Church Street:

Turns out, Hazey made $30 by volunteering to be in a few performances.  This guy below was a dancer and he did flips over H and then had him jump for his pay:

Both kids were asked to participate in this Strong Woman performance: 

We went to a Circus Celebration at the library:

Finally, we got to spend a glorious few evenings at "Farm Party" a gathering up at High Meadow with dozens of wonderful people.  Uncle Scott's sister organizes this gathering every summer and it's been years since we were all able to attend.  Friends from near and far gather at the camp.  After some heavy rains, a few rainbows appeared and then this view came into sight as Hazey played lacrosse with a willing participant.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Bates Burning Man

John's friends from college are so good about planning an annual gathering.  This year, it was decided that we'd meet at a campground on the border of New Hampshire and Maine in the White Mountains.  Joc and his family travel east from California and we always love seeing John's Bates buddies.  Fortunately, Alex and MJ, members of the tribe of friends, are teachers and flexible like me in the summer.  They were going to be out on Chebeague Island for a few days before the gathering and invited us to their amazing place which has been in the family for generations. 

The only way to get to the island is to take a ferry from Portland or Cousins Island in Yarmouth.  Fortunately, Alex and MJ have a boat, so they were able to pick us up and transport us directly to their house. 
kayaking right from the house
a view from the dining room table
 The kids LOVE that they get to ride in a jeep and even on a scooter when they visit this sleepy island.  I love that I can go for runs and experience that kind of relaxation that only comes when you are on an island.

 John was hankering for some lobster, but there are really no lobster pounds on the island.  We made a few calls, but no one had any available on the island.  Alex had no problem with that, he proclaimed that we'd go find lobsters....... So we set out on a blustery afternoon to find dinner.

After hours of seeing nary a lobster boat, we found these guys and chased them down.  Low and behold, they did have lobster and sold four to us for $40. John was thrilled to have his favorite dinner as fresh as fresh could be. The kids each ate their small ones in their entirety.

lobster tamers
 On Friday, we headed over to Basin Pond campground in NH.  It wasn't very far away and in an absolutely gorgeous part of the white mountains.  This year there were seven Batesies in attendance.  The number of kids and spouses have dwindled over the years, but it still such a treat to see these old friends catch up.

We hiked up to Bluebery Mountain on Saturday.  It was a short hike to the mother lode of wild blueberries.  We ate like bears and even gathered enough to bring some home in our water bottles. 

The Crew (without Rachel and Keith-- who arrived just after)

We ended our hike with a visit to Rattlesnake Pool-- an amazing aquamarine swimming hole with a waterfall.

No gathering would be complete without costumes!  So upon our return, we dressed up "crazy", made ice cream, and gathered around the fire.

It was hard to leave on Sunday.  Basin pond did not disappoint.  What a trip!