So... we were in Maine last week. And it was complete magical fun, just like it was last year, and we returned home looking like extras from a church basement production of Oliver Twist, also like last year. It took twenty-five donut holes for the kids to stop sniffling on the way to the airport and I still get kind of vercempt when I think about how much I miss it already.
We've really nailed the packing thing, though. Everyone but Mary got a backpack and we carried EVERYTHING on the plane.
There is a method to this madness.
Our first stop was to LL Bean to buy James his backpack for kindergarten. HE WAS SO EXCITED.
And you guys, I really should have written a few posts in the middle of the trip because I am left with about two-hundred pictures and a sort of hazy contented feeling when I look at them that is difficult to transform into a witty narrative. The kids were so happy and my parents made everything so easy and fun for us... it really was a relaxing break. I will attempt to cover most of it now.
We spent a whole lot of time doing this:
Charley really upped his fishery game this year, catching five mackerel on the first day and innumerable crabs and two lobsters. He kept them all in the lobster car so he could observe them then let them go before bed every night. Every morning he would race through breakfast then bolt out the front door, calling behind him "I'm going to go check my traps!" That kid is a one-man Robert McClosky book.
Also, Mary is a dead ringer for Little Jane in "One Morning in Maine."
One day I got overwhelmed trying to keep track of everyone in the ocean and forced them all to spend thirty minutes of quiet time working at the table. Results were mixed.
I emailed with my research students and edited their abstracts from the porch.
We did some sailing.
LOOK AT HOW CASUAL CHARLEY IS BACK THERE WITH THE TILLER. OMG I DIED. Big kids are insane.
Ryan and the boys swam and Mary got so excited she jumped right into the freezing water and LOVED it.
We walked to the store to get donuts. Some of us wore jammies.
We went to the Pemaquid Point Light for the annual climbing of the death rocks.
Wes loves the death rocks.
More death rocks. Not pictured: nearby death waves that have actually killed people (as indicated by the colorful and explicit warning signs that greet you in the parking lot). It's all very perilous and exciting.
James was finally tall enough to climb up the lighthouse tower! He was THRILLED.
Charley and Wes added some rock sculptures to the collection on the beach before we left.
We stopped to buy lunch and hats (the three boys needed them for camp and Mary likes to be part of the gang) for everyone in a town on the way back.
James made friends with a boy next door. They swam together and showed each other their rooms before settling in for some Traffic Jam.
The kids were in the town kids' costume parade. I think we did a pretty good job slapping together costumes with thirty minutes notice!
The kids went to camp again. They COULD NOT WAIT for camp to start. They have been talking about it since last year's session ended. We were so excited we had to walk down there after church and check out the sailboats.
Part of the fun is waiting out front for our friends to walk by so we can walk with them.
When we returned to camp to pick everyone up, the big story of the day was that Wes and his friend L had CAPSIZED A ROWBOAT and had to be plucked out of the water by the sailing director in a motorboat. The camp director used the word "learning experience". Wes helpfully used the emergency whistle they'd tied to his lifejacket for just such an occasion. He was most excited that he got to have hot chocolate after changing his clothes. Have I told you how much I love this camp?
I thought it was hilarious when I picked them up that Charley had not used his towel at all (despite that day being the day of the swimming test), James had hung his up neatly, and Wes's was nowhere to be found. This makes perfect sense.
I was feeling all relaxed and vacation-y, so I made their lunches cute.
And while they were gone Ryan and Mary and I LIVED it UP. We went to breakfast a couple of times, went on a brewery tour, took naps, went to the farmers' market, and took a sailing cruise around the islands with my mom that was so incredibly fun as to not be in any way diminished by the surly captain and the cranky preschooler (these things may have been related).
We took a hike through the woods that we'd never done before. We will be doing this again. The trail winds through some woods and occasionally juts out onto a rock outcrop with a sweeping view of the ocean. Also the most athletic thing I've done in weeks, at six tenths of a mile.
Another benefit of camp that I never want to forget? The way they came home and INHALED their dinner (like, three to four adult-sized plates of food each), played outside for thirty minutes, and then CRASHED AS IF UNCONSCIOUS for twelve hours. It was like nothing I've ever seen.
This is how I woke up every morning. You don't even want to know what time this is.
We had a boat ride dinner picnic.
And some other boat rides.
The PIRATES CAME and left treasure on the roof! Favorite moment, when the kids all came running up the dock, not having found the clue they were looking for, only to round the corner and see it hanging on the handrail of the dock and yelling "YARRRRRRRR!!!!"
Towards the end of the week the weather got cold and the kids had to bundle up for the walk to camp. They were extra huggable in their fleeces.
I talked to the campers about how meteorology affects sailing conditions. The kids had a LOOOOTTT of questions. The fourteen year old lobsterman who'd talked before me wanted to know if it was hard to get funding to study climate science in a GOP-controlled congress. That was unexpected!
There were beach s'mores.
And some kind of creature was trapped in this bucket.
On the last day of camp, which was the last full day of our visit, we just could not say goodbye to our friends once we got to our house. We had stopped in a meadow on the walk home so the kids could run around. Then the kids chased Ryan's car on foot in a screaming pack, waving six-foot long cattails over their heads. They looked like the Lost Boys running after Captain Hook. We just couldn't say goodbye then so they came over for a boat ride and dinner and a bottle of wine. It was still cool outside so we made beef stew and popovers. The kids were loud and happy and funny and I was so happy to be in that moment, a cozy dinner, tons of people around the table (all if us, my parents, out friends), lots of happy laughter and stories (and LOUD little boys). It was a wonderful sendoff and we cannot wait to go back.
Like literally, the kids are already asking when it's time to go back.