Thursday, May 29, 2014

just another road trip

It's funny how the lens of childhood can shape memories. A couple of weeks ago we took a road trip down to North Carolina to see the grandparents. For the kids, it was a blast. We spent part of the weekend strawberry picking with our friend Joy and her family.

And we all went to a antique car show. I am so not a car person, but I will admit it was pretty fun. So many colors and exotic curves, cars were a lot more fun way back when.

The kids played and gorged on sweets and generally had a fabulous weekend. And that's how they will remember the weekend. They won't remember that this was the first weekend their grandparents were in an old folks home. They won't remember that grandma got lost walking from the living room to the bedroom of their new small apartment. They won't recall the piles of stuff yet unpacked, memories from a lifetime crammed into some boxes awkwardly trying to fit into a new, final space. They won't remember the pain and worry in their daddy's and grandpa's eyes as they tried to convince grandma to eat, or tried to help her find the bed in her bedroom.

And that's exactly the way it should be.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

2 ships and a seaside town

We never pass up an opportunity to tour old ships. Even when Zach was younger, he's always been fascinated by history and especially naval history. Stories of the Battle of Trafalgar (one of those things I never thought I would know so much about in such detail until having a little boy) and the explorers who voyaged under sail totally capture Zach's imagination and his heart.

So we trekked out to the eastern shore of Maryland last week to catch a homeschool tour of the Nina and the Pinta replica ships.

Zach was totally absorbed in the tour. The 20-something guy who was leading our kids around was so engaging and charismatic he kept all of the kids captivated, not just the boat nerds. And Zach became that kid who had all the answers. You know, the one who is charming and impressive at first, but slowly starts to become the know it all who doesn't give the other kids a chance to say anything. He was just so genuinely excited to be learning more about something he loves and chatting with someone who shares his passion for history and ships.

After the tour we wandered around St. Michael's, MD, such an iconic little east coast waterfront town. Adorable and walkable and charming at every turn. We've been here many times before both by boat and by land, but it's always too hot to really walk around or we end up spending all of our time at the fabulous Chesapeake Maritime Museum. It was nice just strolling around and checking it all out.

The Columbus ships are touring all over, so check the schedule and see if they're coming your way. The guys who run the ships are awesome and it's worth a trip.

Friday, May 16, 2014

purple time

Violets have just come and gone in our area. Most years they sort of catch me by surprise and before I have a chance to pick any, they've vanished. But just a couple of weeks ago Naia and I were waiting for Zach at his horse back riding lesson and happened upon a perfect little hillside of violets. We found a bag in the trunk of my car and started picking and picking.

Well Naia was half picking and half just running and rolling up and down the hill. Every once in a while she would look at me and say, "Is it spring now mama? Is winter gone? Are the flowers staying here now?" Yeah, it's been a loooooong winter.

So we had a huge bag of violets and now what? I tried sugaring a bunch of them, and it mostly kind of worked. Not like the kids cared what they looked or tasted like, it was a little wad of sugar, that's all that mattered and they were happy. In the end, I don't know that it was worth the effort.

Then we boiled the rest down into a simple syrup following the directions found here. We kept the purple sugar syrup in the fridge and we've been indulging in violet lemonade for the past several weeks. Now that was totally worth the effort. Easy peasey and the kids loved it!

Basically just some of the violet syrup, and some fresh squeezed lemons, and water.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Mother's Day On The Bay

Sometimes the best plans are the ones you don't actually make until 5 minutes before they happen. That's my kind of outing really. I am much better at spontaneous than long term planning. So bumping into some friends at the grocery store while grabbing some food led to all of us casting off a half hour later for a Mother's Day on the bay.

(Our long time friend and her little boy who is about Naia's age.)

I love how Zach is holding her life jacket for safety in the photos below. He chewed me out for letting her play on the bow (even though we were drifting along in totally calm conditions). I love that kid.

We had about 5 minutes of wind before we were totally becalmed. We decided to tuck in on the shoals behind the Thomas Point Lighthouse (thank you 3 foot draft!) and just drift, sails down, no anchor out. We pretty much stayed in one place, away from traffic, and had a lovely lunch.

Then within a few minutes of starting to head back everything got really quiet.

I noticed the quiet, checked to see what was up, and found her like this. She and her little buddy slept for hours. That was a wonderful Mother's Day surprise.

Back at the marina, we tended to a few quick repairs and set the cockpit table for dinner.

One hilarious side note... this is the first time we have had a chance to sail since winter (of course this year winter was approximately 17 months long.) As we were getting out of the harbor, I looked up and noticed spider webs in the rigging. Actual, real spider webs. Lots of them. It was crazy and icky and hilarious all at once. We hacked at them with a boat hook, but realized we just needed to sail them off. Adios freeloaders!

 (this photo sort of shows the spider webs... it was like this all over the shrouds and mast.)

Friday, May 09, 2014

sheep fest

Even though we live on the water, we always seem to be drawn to farm-ish things. Any chance of feeding a cheeky goat or petting a chicken and we're there.

The Maryland Sheep and Wool Fest is one of those family friendly, people watching, free, farm things that seems to draw us in each year. Sheep, cotton candy, wool, yarn, and lamb kebobs... what's not to like?

Both kids were totally mesmerized by the Angora rabbits. They are softer than you think possible and they just sit there and let you stroke them and love on them as much as you want. Their handlers hold them in their laps and spin the fur right off their bodies.  Just gently pulling and spinning and pulling and spinning into impossibly soft yarn.

Everywhere you look people are knitting. One day I need to go to the festival without the kids so I can just pick a group of knitters to crash and spend all day figuring it out. Anywhere there's a group of crazy knitters there will be yarn bombing. This is when knitters knit sweaters for public spaces like a park bench or a tree trunk or a fence or a building column, basically knitting graffiti. If I ever learn to knit, I will totally do this. I think the whole world should be yarn bombed.

One thing that struck me as we were wandering the festival was how big Zach is getting. He jumped from a size 8 to a size 12 clothes in one season. I would see him walking ahead of us, in his own little world and for a split second I would glance at his broadening shoulders and strong legs and think, who's that guy? Oh man, that's my baby boy! Almost a decade old. Sigh.

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