She's the poster child for slap happy

And just for the record, this was filmed a couple hours after she would normally be in bed. Gotta love that “I wore a dress to the beach, played in the sand, almost fell in the water, ate some cake, smeared it all over my face, and I’m still wearing the same outfit” look she’s got going!


We're Baaaack!

We’re finally back home, and I’ve downloaded an obnoxious amount of pictures and video from our three weeks of semi-southern living, enough to severely jam up traffic on the information highway. Over this prolonged blogging hiatus, you’ll be happy to know that I thought of more than a hundred clever, funny, heartfelt and riveting things to share, all of which were wiped clean from memory on the 11 hour drive home. I experienced the human equivalent of the dreaded “blue screen”, where the lights are on behind the LCD panel, but that mother board is as good as fried. I blame the mind-numbing combination of Thomas movie “dialogue” (those stinky steamies!!), a dangerous three hour gap between when we left (5 a.m.) and when I finally got coffee, the not-so-friendly banter going on between the two car-seat-ridden kiddos in the back seat, and the New Jersey traffic.
I think it is safe to say that Robert Frost was not referring to the Garden State Parkway when he penned a rhyme about the road less traveled.
So until my memory is restored (it may be gone forever), you can browse the endless photos and see the story of the last three weeks through the twinkly eyes and darling smiles of my offspring (who, for the record, are every bit as annoying on a road trip as they are cute in the pictures!).


130 Million Heartbeats

It felt no longer than a heartbeat. But exactly four years and over 130 million heartbeats ago, an eight pound bundle forever changed our lives. When did those floppy little frog legs morph into the limbs of a daredevil on the rock wall? How did he go from being lighter than a gallon of milk to guzzling a pint in two minutes flat? Yesterday I held my firstborn son in my arms, completely speechless at the miracle of new life. Today he sits beside me schooling me in how to build a dump truck out of legos. And I'm still speechless, only not because I'm lost in amazement. More so because I'm being patronized by a four year old.
So today Caed is a whopping big four year old. A full-fledged monkey-bar-swinging, ledge-jumping, lego-building, why-asking, chronically-whining, ever-loving four year old boy.

And I am immensely grateful for every moment, every smile, every hug, every milestone, every heartbeat.


Blueberry Fields Forever

I finally understand how little Sal and her mother could get “all mixed up on Blueberry Hill”. I took the kids blueberry picking this week, and it was delightful. Except for the part where Sheridan kept running off down the hill and to the right. Or was it to the left? Whatever the direction, in two seconds flat, she was down the hill, around the bend, behind multiple rows of berries and out of sight, apparently with the sole intention of getting lost. Thank goodness for Caed, who had matured since the last season of picking when he only tasted “tremendous mouthfuls”, and was now actually making a contribution to the produce in our basket. But even with Caed’s help, we brought home only enough blueberries to make a batch of muffins, and to freeze an extra pint.

So for those of you waiting breathlessly for your Martha-esque taste of Maine gift to arrive, complete with scrumptious hand-picked, home-canned blueberry jelly, you might want to take a breath now. Because let’s be honest. Even if the girl had cooperated and we brought home buckets of berries, there is a higher probability of Dani sitting perfectly still and staying blissfully quiet for 10 minutes straight than of me bringing a complicated domestic project to a successful completion. And if you must have a blueberry jam fix, now that I’ve put the idea in your head and gone nowhere with it, don’t despair. There is always Stonewall Kitchen.
As for our afternoon among the berries, I will say only for purposes of having a nice play on words that we could have stayed in the blueberry fields forever. But staying for just an hour was good too. Plenty of time to pick a handful of berries, and play multiple rounds of hide and seek!


This weekend, in an attempt at brotherly affection, Caed tried to hold Dani’s hand while sitting next to her in the car. Dani loves to hold Caed’s hand, but only when she initiates it. If it is not her idea, then forget it. So she responded (quite predictably) with a squeal and tried to bat his hand away. He tried again. She squealed louder and threw in a couple of “no”s for added impact. Becky jokingly said to Caed, “She’s saying no, bud. You should probably learn early on that when a girl says no, she means no.” Caed threw his hands on top of his head and and responded with exasperation, “But I MEAN YES!”
On another totally random note, the photo above is over a year old. As much as they have changed in a year, it’s crazy to see how they are still the very same--Dani with her happy-mouth-wide-open look and Caed with his eyes-closed-pursed-lips-smile, showing his sister that he adores her no matter what. Even if she means “no” and he means “yes”....


But wait, there's more...

Our action packed weekend with Becky & Max continued on Saturday with a trip to the Seashore Trolley Museum in Kennebunkport, followed by a yummy lunch at Federal Jack’s.

On Sunday, we started our day at Ferry Beach, but left after only an hour and a half, just as the high tide was about to wash us all away.

We picked up some lunch to go and headed out to Fort Williams, where the kids ate and played to their heart’s content. Then it was home again in hopes of a quick nap for Dani and some downtime for the rest of us.

We decided to venture back out for dinner, and after soliciting the kids’ input, decided upon the “train restaurant” (also known as O’Naturals). The food is pretty good, but it is generally known that I go there only for the old bank safe that has been converted into a playroom (complete with a train set), placed brilliantly adjacent to a roomy dining area. The kids can play in between bites while the adults eat in relative peace. So anyway, you can imagine our disappointment when we arrived and discovered the restaurant was closed for the night. Time for plan B. So we walked down Exchange street and ended up at Dry Dock. There was a wicked long wait for an outside table, but we were escorted right in when we declared our intention to eat indoors. The service was slow, perhaps due to the abundance of outdoor patrons, and our indoor natives were understandably restless. Luckily, we were at a big table in the corner with two sizable windows. So if you happened to be walking down Commercial Street and heard crazy squeals and dinosaur noises coming from several stories up, yep, that would be us.

After dinner, we walked back up the hill to Coldstone for some cotton candy ice cream. This particular treat was “earned” by the boys earlier in the day, after we “caught” them showing kindness to each other at least three times. It actually only took one time of praising the right kind of behavior before they were clamoring to do it again and then self-reporting their admirable actions. If only our questionable parenting tactics always worked that well!
Anyway, it turned out to be a double treat, as just as they finished their ice cream, a fire truck pulled up and parked right in front. The firefighters were apparently on an emergency Starbucks run, but were willing to slow down long enough to say hi to Max and Caed and give them a junior fire fighter sticker.

As we returned home well past the normal bedtime, the kids continued to laugh and sing and indulge in the silliest of sounds, most likely courtesy of the cotton candy ice cream now coursing through their veins. I can’t think of a more wonderful way to end the summer!

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