Category Archives: family

Take a Hike.

lead the way.

Jack in the Pack

HAPPY

nature makes us happy

Fun in the Woods

be green

There are so many reasons why the fall is my favorite time of year, but one of my most loved adventures when the weather gets chilly, and the trees put on their show, is going out into the woods and taking it all in. Maybe it’s because this is the time of year when Mike and I started dating (fourteen years ago, thank you very much!). Maybe it’s because our first date away was to Vermont, where we hiked snow covered trails and walked on huge frozen lakes. Outside makes me feel so refreshed inside. It wakes me up and I feel like I can think more clearly.

I love that we have to bundle and layer. I love that the ground is covered in color. The air is crispy and fresh. And when the sun shines through a particularly bright bit of foliage? Nothing better, friends…Nothing. It’s like natures version of stained glass.

Saturday was stellar. We took the baby-carrying backpack down from the attic and hit the woods in search of “Lost Lake.” This was Jack’s first time and he LOVED it! I even got him to wear that super-adorable hat that I have been trying to get him to keep on for more than five seconds…maybe it was because he couldn’t reach his head to throw it off?
Despite the parked cars at the trail head, we only came across a few people (and two beautifully muddy and excited golden retrievers) along the way.
There were some real treasures to be found, and love was everywhere…as captured in these photos:

Tree of Love

 Love

heart
Finn had a great time scavenging, and running and climbing on the huge rocks. He found a cool “hook” that he carried and had such a good time poking at patches of moss, empty stumps, grabbing tree branches… And I couldn’t stop taking pictures. In all honestly, I could have stayed there, semi-lost, carefree and one with nature, all darn day. But Jack got heavy on Mike’s back, and the boys got tired, and hungry and…as boys do. But the short time inhaling the forest was enough euphoria to last all weekend long…

Get outside.  Take a hike.  And always follow the trails less traveled. 

(linking up with Annapolis & Company and Casey Leigh Wiegand)

xo

love

Paths

A Quick Catch Up – In Pictures

waterfall

tree hugger

roots

Trail Treasures

me and my bud

Jack in the leaves

Buried in Leaves

Pumpkins

pumpkin patch

Me and Roo

Pumpkin Head Antics

Pumpkin Head Outhouse

Where do I even begin??

It feels like it’s been so long since I’ve posted and we’ve done so many fun things over the past few weeks.

A few Fridays ago, I surprised Finn by picking him up about 10 minutes before school ended. It was a beautiful fall day and the foliage was at its absolute PEAK! We went hiking on some local trails that I haven’t visited in many years. I brought a little bag for him to collect some nature treasures. We came across a babbling brook and it took me a long time to pry him away from throwing rocks and sticks and leaves into the river. He loved watching them float away and wash down the mini waterfall. Boys. We saw some huge roots from fallen trees that shrunk my tall boy to a miniature version of himself. As we got toward the end of the trail, we happened upon a fire truck and some firefighters in the middle of the woods – turns out there was a brush fire they were trying to put out, so that was pretty exciting as well. It was SO great spending time with him by myself, something that doesn’t happen as often as it used to.

Although there are still plenty of leaves left on our trees, our yard is COVERED in fading reds, oranges and yellows – I love crunching through them, and the boys LOVE jumping in them. Mike and I haven’t begun bagging anything yet, and our raking has consisted of one pile that is continuously scattered again and again. Trucks are driven through it. Kids are buried in it. It’s been fun!! There are still many, many leaves to fall, so the piles will only grow…I’m sure we’re not alone.

My sister has officially moved away. Feelings are bittersweet. She previously lived in Manhattan, just a short train ride away. She and her husband have relocated to Denver, Colorado. While I thank her for moving to city that I envision as a really awesome place to visit, we’ll all miss having her so close by. It won’t be forever, (right Kristen??) but a lot of life will be lived in four to five years that we’ll have to share on-line. Thank GOD for social media!!! BUT – new chapters are ALWAYS exciting, and I know she (they) will do great things in the meantime.

We finally made it back to the pumpkin patch and took our annual hayride where “Pumpkin Head” hides throughout the woods, to be delightedly spotted by a bunch of giggling kids. He is one mischievous character. Proof is in the pictures above… (What is he doing in that outhouse you ask? “Pooping” according to Finn). The pumpkins were slim pickins, but we picked a nice, big, lumpy one – which we carved tonight, just in time for Halloween!

So that pretty much brings us up to date! Tomorrow is the BIG day. One of Finn’s favorite holidays. He has been counting down on his calendar for weeks. I told him only 3 pieces of candy tomorrow night… Is that parental cruelty? Wishful thinking? We’ll see how it goes…

And when the boys go to bed, I’m sure I’ll raid his stash for a few pieces myself. What? We can’t possibly have chocolate in the house and have it be ignored… besides, it’s bad for their teeth…Jack is too little…there are flavors they just don’t like. (Is anyone buying this???)

Happy Halloween Eve!!!

Smashing Pumpkins

Prepping

What is it about boys and destruction.  Is it just mine?  Finn had been asking, and asking, and asking to smash our sweet little pumpkins we had carved a few weeks ago.  It seems a bit early for pumpkin smashing, but I will admit, the wilting, orange jack’s had seen better days.  Shortly after carving, they filled with fruit flies (while still sitting atop our microwave, mind you).  We immediately moved them outside to the deck railing where we figured the cold air would keep them a bit longer.  We lit them at dusk a fair amount of times and watched them from inside as we ate dinner, their inner glow flickering wildly in the chilly, windy October nights we have had. 

So, when Finn asked for what seemed like the millionth time if he could smash the pumpkins last Sunday afternoon, I finally relented.  You would think I had graced him with some amazing privilege, which, I guess to him it was.  He smiled that crazy, silly, devilish little grin and with a huge heave over his head – he flung the first pumpkin with amazing force!  Then again with the second pumpkin.  Each lost some flesh, but it didn’t end there.  He ran down the deck stairs, gathered the remains, and continued this game over and over until there weren’t enough large pieces to justify any more smashing.

Smashing Pumpkins

So…we are down two little jack-o-lanterns, but I guess the good thing about early pumpkin-chucking, is that we can get ourselves to the pumpkin patch, pronto, and gather some more to carve with new silly faces, that will inevitably collect fruit flies, that will eventually meet their fate at the bottom of our yard.  The squirrels will feast on our recycled “back to the earth” mentality – all because I have a boy who thrives on the thrill of destroying some pumpkins.  I look forward to enjoying this cycle all over again – very soon!!

Just a Quicky About My Loves.

These are my boys:    Boys

This is Finn:                                                                                                                                    He is 5.  He is my first.  He is full of life and love and questions about everything.

Finn

This is Jack:  He is 18 months.  He is a mover and a shaker.  He likes to run.  And climb.  He likes to copy his big brother.  He likes to gives kisses…after he has bonked you in the head.  It is very possible that he might be my challenge (as far as tantrums are concerned…)

Jack

These are my boys.  These are their names.  Red & Roo.  My life and my loves. 

And now you know.  xo 

HAPPY FRIDAY!!

 

Heart Swell – September Edition

I am seriously slacking in my posting – and for that I apologize to those of you who continue to visit my little blog of percolating thoughts.  I have been missing this space, and though my heart wants to come here and help my brain empty itself all over the page, my brain keeps circling other things.  Things that are sucking the life and energy out of me.  Things that are burning me up inside.  Things that involve work, and corporate craziness which are consuming me in ways I never wanted or expected.  So more may come of that, when I am ready, and / or when the time is right.

But for now, some of the things that have been making my heart (and life) swell…

Soccer has officially “kicked” off!!

kickinit

Concentration face.

…obviously running around all day leads to sleepy heads at night.

sleepy

And speaking of sleep, last Sunday, Red and I returned from church to this scene – the only way Mike could get Roo to sleep!!  Not a bad way to snooze if you ask me…

My handsome boys.

Sleepy Babes

soapy mohawk

Who doesn’t love a soapy mohawk? Who???

surprise presents

Surprise presents and dreams of a jam band.

groovin'soundcheck

sound check.

Play Nice

Legos definitely make my heart swell…and my feet too when I step on them!

Loving that they are playing nicely (and quietly!!) together.

learning

Learning to count.  He says: uuuh, two, tee…

Going over football strategy

And all that counting preps him for football season kick-off!!! 

Here, Roo is explaining strategy.

And so it goes in these parts…sports and music…and until I can get my head back in the writing game…enjoy!  I’ll be back in the swing soon!

xo

 

 

Weekend ramblings…

boat day!

Me and Roo

anchor up!

We’ll get to these pictures in a minute…

Over the weekend, as I got distracted while doing laundry (or distracted myself since I didn’t want to fold the baskets and baskets conspicuously waiting around the house), I meandered to my craft drawers. They are a disorganized mess (despite my last cleaning project) and as I began shuffling through them, organizing bits and pieces, odds and ends, winding ribbon spools, sorting, organizing and re-discovering, I began to think of all of the fun projects I should be working on, and the lovely little beauties that could be spun from my idle hands….especially when they are not busy folding laundry. And then I really got to thinking. I have plenty of plans to craft more, especially as I begin to think about Christmas gifts, and as the warm weather begins to fade to fall. So, stay tuned because I fully intend to step up this B (for blog of course, though it’s also my nickname for another bit of slang, and since my blog is a she, I’ll let you figure it out for yourselves).

HOWEVER…

Since yesterday was a gorgeous day and the last free weekend of truly free summer fun before school starts, I had to abandon the craft ship and board our real vessel. Boat day! Roo’s first time out did not disappoint!! As I snuggled him, he simply looked around, taking everything in, bundled in his life jacket which tends to creep up to his chin. Red and Mike were busy crabbing and fishing and guiding us on an adventurous journey up the river. The sun was high in the sky and it was warm, but not unbearably hot. I was happy to get my pale, Irish skin some color, even if it was red and resulted in more freckles. I love my freckles by the way. I love any freckles, and Red has earned a few more scattered over his nose this summer, which I think is just the cutest thing ever.

chillin'

crab pickin'

This would be Mike, pretending to have the crab pick his nose. Classy. Don’t worry, this crab was not harmed during the making of this photo, other than having a little less dignity when he swam back to his friends.

Jelly!!

Can you spy the jellyfish??

crabs

Too short.

It was a welcome outdoorsy day, since Saturday was a day dedicated to Red’s haircut and back-to-school shopping at the mall. The sole mission was to find him his sneakers. As I mentioned in this post, he had his heart set on “light-up sneakers.” Well, that was totally fine, until I tried finding them. You would think in a place that has no less than 7 shoe stores, we would have been successful…

I only had one requirement. They had to have laces, no Velcro. The last pair he had were Velcro, and that dang material begins to unstick after a while… Oh, and they had to not be ugly…ok, so two requirements. Um, have you laid eyes on some of the light up sneakers out there? Many have super-hero’s on them, like Iron Man or Spiderman, which a. he has no concept of who these characters are because he is far too young to watch the movies they star in, and b. it is my opinion that the damn marketing license for such characters drives the price up on an otherwise cheap pair of sneakers by about $10! I wasn’t paying $45-$50 on ugly sneakers that would unstick and he would probably ditch once he saw what other kids were wearing anyway.

So, after a day of schlepping the mall (both boys were actually very well behaved, and thank God for my mom’s help because Red insisted on riding the “electric stairs” {escalator} just for the sheer thrilling fun of it), we left with a buy-one-get-one pack of socks and two t-shirts from Gap Kids. And just to explain about the socks – I completely SPACED and let Red wear his Crocs that day, which if any of you are familiar, if these shoes are worn barefoot (because why would you wear socks with Crocs?) by boys who like to run around in dirt and have sweaty feet, the end result when said shoes are removed isn’t pretty. We’re talking feet caked in grime. Needless to say, we probably gave the poor teenager helping us at Foot Locker quite a disgraceful shock. I apologetically and immediately took him up on his “bogo” sock offer, which we needed anyway. Oh well, I love my bud, stinky, dirty feet and all…which by the way, we finally found really good sneakers for today! They don’t light up, but they are cool looking and functional and were in my price range. Score!

Oh, and today, we had a Mommy-Red date day!!! It began on a high note with the sneaker purchase. He was so excited-he wore them out of the store (obviously) and proceeded to run to every store we visited throughout the outdoor outlets that we were shopping at, because he said, they made him extra fast. We came home for lunch, and then went to the movies to see Disney’s Planes. It was a glorious, be-still-my-heart afternoon in that theatre. To have him so overjoyed with excitement for the movie, to see his reaction to all the previews, to have him randomly turn to me in the dark during the movie for a kiss, to hear him tell me he loves me…I wish I could have those moments every day…I’ll be re-living them in my memory for a while.

One more day off together…we meet his teacher tomorrow which will bring its own excitements, and then Wednesday is the BIG K DAY! New adventures await.

 

So now…
…until then
….. Ramble on!

hangin'

Dunking the Boat

Waiting

Waiting…

…and Waiting

Get me on the water already before I snag you with this harpoon!!

Get me on the water already before I snag you with this harpoon!!

We own a small 16’ Carolina Skiff that has been in our “family” since before the kids were born.  We used to rent a quaint little cottage which was located on the mouth of a river that opens up into Long Island Sound.  It was a piece of paradise that we enjoyed from the time we met (I was 23, he was 30) until just three years ago.  There is an Association that managed the small private beach and docks that members enjoyed.  We could come and go on the boat any time we pleased.  We were very spoiled.  We rarely even went away when we had time off since we lived in a place that had everything we loved – salt water, ocean breezes, and a vessel to get us out into the deep.  Taking a day to go out on the boat was nothing out of the ordinary, and something we appreciated every moment we could.

We both have our recreational lobster licenses.  Mike used to bait and fish 20 lobster pots at a time.  Our area is known for the Thimble Islands, which as the name suggests, consist of small island clusters, some with homes on them, some just very large rocks, but because lobsters like rocks, our catch would sometimes be extremely rewarding.  It was a lot of work, but really fun, and delicious! 

And what great memories.

Now days, even though we live up the street from a little marina, the boat is trailered in our yard.  The town boat launch is a short drive away – only about 5 minutes – but getting out on the boat is not as easy as it used to be.

Roo is too small to go out for an extended period of time, and was feeling a little under the weather on Sunday, but Mike and Red have been itching to dunk the boat, especially to fish.  Red got a new “real” fishing pole for his birthday in April, and was able to retire the “little kid” Lightening McQueen one he had been using.  It had treated him well though, because last summer, he and Mike would walk to the marina and catch snappers off of the docks, and Red would get VERY excited. 

The trip was such a treat for both of them.  It was an EVENT.  They took a ride to the bait store and bought the necessary sand worms that Red loves to play with and watch squirm on the hook.  Then they hitched up – trailer to truck, and off they went.  It was a gorgeous day with perfect warm weather and no humidity.  The sky was BLUE with huge puffy white clouds and there was a beautiful light breeze.  Mike said the water was flat calm which allowed them to go out pretty far without any choppy waves.

Bait

Once anchored, they cast their lines and waited.  Red searched through the tackle box, checking out all the cool lures and bobbers.  They had a picnic lunch of turkey and cheese and PB&J sandwiches.  Mike caught a few small blue fish.  They moved around a bit.  Red napped in Mike’s lap at one point, tired from the excitement and sun.  He got to swim in a pretty area that we call “back bay” because it is enclosed on one side in a semi-circular shape of marsh and beyond that residential homes.  Mike caught some snappers.  Red didn’t have any luck, but he also doesn’t really have the attention span or desire to just sit and watch a fishing line for any pull either.  

Fishing

More fishing

What he did have patience for, and took very seriously, is his ability to drive the boat.  At five, he is a pro already!

Serious steering

So, while we no longer live in the little community of “Association Beach Rights” and convenient docks, and amazing views of sailboats coming in and out of the river, and fresh, free, lobster dinners, what we do have is a boat, a trailer, and the ability to take that package wherever we want.  And we are a family of adventurers, ready for fun on the high seas.  (Well, maybe not HIGH seas…I really don’t like overly-rolly waves)  Hopefully next time Roo and I will join.  I’m thinking a sunset cruise up the river is in order.

Or maybe just a day for Mike and I, like the old days when we would simply anchor and rock in the glisten-y water until my skin was freckled and red.  Tunes on the radio.  Beers in the cooler.  Secluded little beaches that we shared only with the seagulls.  These are the moments that I am determined to renew before summer’s end.  Since there are only a few weeks left (already???) we better get on it!

Mike – that last line is directed at YOU.  xo

The cure for anything is salt water -- sweat, tears, or the sea.