Monday, June 4, 2012

We're back

Please indulge me in a bit of a vacation-photo slide show. We're just back from a week in Bar Harbor, Maine.

It wasn't perfect.  Everyone wants you to come back and say "it was great!," but to be honest, there was hardship and sadness on this trip.

But there was beauty and joy, too, and sunny days amidst the fog.

Here are a few glimpses of the parts I want to remember:
Low-tide treasure hunts. Lucy is enamored of rockweed, which she treats like bubble-wrap: pop!

The view from "our" cottage on a gorgeous day.


Lots of delicious meals and treats.




A slow morning exploring "the bar."



Exploring water flow and erosion at Sand Beach.

A gorgeous hike with our brave, strong hiker.
(and these weren't even the most-beautiful parts of the hike; those came after the camera battery died)

Lots of gliding down big hills on Lucy's balance bike.


Watching boats and marveling at the juxtapositions: big and small, old-fashioned and modern, luxury and working.


Time on nearly-empty beaches with gorgeous views.


Spectacular treat choices for our dairy-free girl (blueberry-basil, here).


Taking time to check out the view from the tippy-top of this bridge's tower on the way home.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Goin' for a ride in my car, car...

Lucy's favorite thing lately is for me to "tell me a story about when you were a little girl."  I love that request, I love her interest, I love the connection it's building between us.  But after months of retelling my stories over and over every day, I'm sick of them, and completely out of new ones.  And we're about to take a 7-hour drive twice in one week.  I cannot fill all that time with stories!  So I've been working on back-up plans.

When I was a little girl, we drove 18 hours to Lake Michigan for two weeks every summer.  My mother held the bag of M&Ms and doled them out one at a time to the first to spot "a red car" or "a blue station wagon."  She packed big piles of library books.  My sisters and I lay stretched out with pillows in the back of the station wagon, reading, playing, and eating candy from the specially-stocked mini suitcases my mother packed for us.  (One year, there was one of those things you draw on with a red plastic stick and then peel up the plastic covering to erase your picture.  What were those things called?  Anyway, I stuck the red thingy in my ear, and we ended up making an emergency trip to the doctor...)

I kept my mom's ideas in mind as I perused Pinterest and brainstormed my own list.

Here's what I've packed for Lucy's entertainment on the road:

Cookie sheet with magnetic paper dolls (made with printable magnet sheets and free downloads). I planned to make these car trays, but I just didn't have any more time to spare right now (or a large-enough clean cookie sheet).  For containing items in the car, she'll use a wooden tray rigged to her car seat.

An "I Spy" bottle.  My mom and I had tons of fun gathering tiny things for Lucy to try to find hidden in the rice (I spy mama's hair clip, a googly eye, and a button right now).  There's a photo of all the objects, so she'll know what she's looking for.  I really loved this idea, but again, limited time, so a recycled bottle it is.

Mad Libs.  I loved these as a kid and certainly spent car-time on them myself, but I would never have thought to buy them for a 3-year-old had I not happened across this one at Goodwill when I was shopping for car activities.  I realized there was no reason I couldn't teach Lucy what a verb is, and have her offer those while Andi suggests the rest, and then maybe do verbs and nouns.  I think she'll love it.

Our family songbook.

A lollipop.  Bought them for Halloween, and still have a few.  I thought it might buy us a few minutes of quiet.  (Lucy eats very little candy, so this will be a huge treat.)  There's one for the trip home, too.

A couple of favorite books with lots and lots of details to study.

Pipe cleaners, beads, and buttons.

Markers and scissors.

Goop.

A tiny flashlight.

A little mirror.

A notebook holding paper, stickers, mama-made Bingo (seen above), and printed Bingos and scavenger hunt.  There are also dry-erase crayons (borrowed from Nanny) for marking the bingo pages and I spy photo, which are all in page protectors.  Nanny also loaned us a dry-erase board to take along.

Not pictured: our iPod, loaded with Pooh and Sparkle Stories.

It's all packed up in Lucy's tote from Granny:
I'll let you know if it kept us happy in the car!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Yarn along: anticipation

 
Ahh...I'm finally able to join in again for Ginny's yarn along.  I haven't had much time lately for either reading or crochet, but I have only one more day of work before I get to go on vacation!  So I've picked out a pattern and some yarn and have it packed and ready to go (6 1/2 hours in the car minus tons of Lucy-entertaining-time equals some time for crochet, I hope!)

I wanted something super-simple to help me ease back in to crochet after a long absence (my brain is going to be in vacation mode, after all), and I wanted to use yarn we had on hand (thanks, Melissa!).  I chose Merlin.  Wish me luck; maybe I'll come back from vacation inspired to be crafty again.

I'm reading One Vacant Chair by Joe Coomer, but unfortunately, it's been slow going.  In the past, I've loved Joe Coomer's books, especially Beachcombing for a Shipwrecked God.  (I read that many years ago, and immediately began it again, very rare for me.  A few years later, I found myself in Portsmouth, NH, and kept saying "I've been here before," "I know this place," though I hadn't.  I finally realized it was his descriptive writing that made me feel I'd been there.)  This time, however, I'm just not getting into it.  I can't blame the book.  I've been like this with most books lately.  I just don't have the time to sink deeply into a book, and I am almost always sleep deprived.  I've packed pure fluff reading for this trip to accommodate my current brain fog.

Have any good recommendations for this tired, time-crunched Mama?

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

We've got mail

I was very excited to discover Lucy quietly at work in the studio this morning, on a project of her own design.  She'd collected clay, twist ties, wooden beads, and bamboo from their various places and brought them all to the table.

When I came in, she was just beginning her second in a three-part series (one for "mommy, mama, and Lucy--our whole family!"):
As she finished each one, she ran across the studio
to deliver them to our mailboxes.  (There's one there for each of the kids in our early childhood program, as well as for Andi and I.)
(I've just recently returned from a Reggio-inspired teachers' conference at which Lella Gandini described the three-year-old classrooms' mailboxes being transparent, because three-year-olds might put anything in there, such as a half-sucked lollipop.   :-)  So the intentionality in three-year-old Lucy's mailed gifts particularly struck me today.)

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happening these days in and around the purple house


(Thanks for the good gear, Tim and Eric!)

(look familiar, Jules?)
(Rani Arbo and Daisy Mayhem doing songs from "Ranky Tanky"--a current fave)

(Julie, once we'd talked about it, it had to be done immediately!)




Saturday, May 5, 2012

Great blue herons to the rescue

We conquered the sleep-deprived grumpies today by getting out into nature.  (Is it just us, or do full moons drastically affect sleep in your house, too?)

A friend recently told us about a hike we had to take, to a great-blue-heron rookery, from a downtown neighborhood, of all places!
The last time we went (a few weeks ago), we saw the herons building their nests.  Today, Lucy and I returned and found them all sitting on the nests.
It's so bizarre to see these big huge birds perched high in the trees like that!
Right next door to the herons is a bald eagle, also nesting.
It's a truly amazing sight.

Closer to earth, we saw a garter snake,
 a tuft of unidentified fur (a mystery to ponder), lots of animal holes, big fat bumblebees, some butterflies, red-winged blackbirds, wood ducks, and heard many, many different bird calls.
 It was amazing to see that the brown woods we'd visited so recently was now lush and green. (And completely full of poison ivy!  We kept our bodies small and centered on the path.)

Later, we went out to dinner with friends, followed by dessert and dandelion-blowing in a little park in the center of our town.

And when bedtime came and went by an hour, with no sign of sleep, I got Lucy back out of bed and into the car and we went in search of the "supermoon."  We caught glimpses of it through the trees in all its huge orange glory, and continued looking for a good viewing spot as it rose, lightened, and got hidden by clouds.

It was well worth the extra-late bedtime.

My best cure for a difficult day--take it outside and breathe in the wonders of nature.