Monday, August 28, 2017

The Pinery 2017

A few weeks ago now the boys and I made the trek to The Pinery. It's only an 8.5/9 hour drive, according to GoogleMaps, but it was a 11 or 12 hour drive for us each time, even with very few stops. Fortunately, the boys are actually fairly good travelers, although we all had our moments. Ian wanted to listen to "The Newsies" on repeat and Owen was content to be handed a couple of stick pretzels at a time for most of the journey.

We arrived after the moon had crested the pines and soon after Mom & Phoebe had returned from their own road trip from Sante Fe, via a few National Parks.
 We hit the ground running, as the boys always do, and tried to soak up as much Pinery activity as we could. One added bonus was the paving on river road. In this photo, the boys were fascinated to observe the sparks flying as the guard rail came down.
 Both of my parents were there, Phoebe & her boyfriend Will, and the Willem and his girlfriend arrived a couple of days later. It was nice to have the whole gang together for a few days. Ian, especially, loves being with everyone and having someone participate in every activity with him. Fortunately, there are many willing participants.

 The photo credit for this one goes to my dad. I just LOVE this photo of those brothers.
 The river was just right, not too high and not too low. Ian made us all laugh when he ran into the water for the first time and exclaimed, "The water is warm!" Quite different from the water at our local beaches in New England.
 Grumps lugged sand up from the river and filled the turtle sand box. This was a favorite activity of both boys, but especially Owen.
 We enjoyed lots of river time on the warmer days.

 Mom and I went for an evening paddle.
 And one day Aunt Beth came over and we had pizza from the earth oven. YUM!
 This wagon was another HUGE hit for the boys! Ian and Owen moved it all over the yard loading their homes into the wagon and unloading when they reached their new home. You'd think they had just moved to a new home or something ;) Amazing to see children work out what's going on in their lives through play.

 Will obliged Ian and played soccer. We now have a soccer ball at home, too. He LOVES playing.
 I got lost in an amazing book and couldn't put it down. Fortunately, Owen didn't seem to mind.
 Dad had to leave early for a camp he was leading, but we were grateful for the time we had together.

 For the first time ever the boys slept in the same room together! Here they had joined me for some book reading in the morning, but it was amazing to have my own space on that screened in porch for a week.
 Lost reading again...
 Uncle Willem read Ian "The Fox and the Hound" and used a unique, dynamic voice for each character. It had him completely mesmerized.
 Did anyone say watermelon?

 Bob and Mom found a bird that had just flown from the nest. Baby bird met Baby Owen.
 We went over to Tippery Pines and the Kosker home for dinner one night and Ian LOVED playing in the pool and on the slip-n-slide with Hazel and Heidi.

 And soon it was our last day at the river. We filled it with watching the pavers in front of the cabin, hiking a bit in Cook Forest, and eating ice cream at The Pale Whale.
 Ian LOVES The Pinery. It was so neat to hear him talk about it this year. He would say, "It's exciting that we are going to The Pinery, huh?" And, "I can't wait to go to The Pinery tomorrow." I'm glad he's forming fond memories of this wonderful place.

I went on one solo paddle and it did my soul such good. It's amazing how deeply connected I feel to this place. Every spot on that road brings back memories, every scent, the feel. It's incredible. So grateful to share it with my children and for them to love it as much as I do. 

My dad had the atlas out one day and I took some time to pour through it. It was strange to steer the car north, away from Virginia and the drive I could do so easily from memory. Instead, we drove up and away from all things familiar. The world has a way of being so small, and yet so big.
Thank you, Mom & Dad, for hosting us! We loved our time with you.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

July in NH

After finishing his last day of residency, Jim hopped in the car and drove all of the way here. He got here at 5 AM, the crazy dude. We were SO excited to see him and show him around our new house. Ian helped me make this sign to hang on the mantle. The orange line was the longgggg way to New Hampshire, because it's a long drive to get here. 

 Pretty much all of July has been a time of family cocooning, house projects, and exploring our new area. Jim starts work on August 1st, so we've had an entire month together. Here are some pictures to document this time.

 Hesitant at first, Owen's a big fan of the beach and the waves now!

 We were thrilled to find that there's a brook on our property!!

 We've set about making a few things more home-y to us. One of the first things we need is a fire pit :)
 All of the changes have had us all quite tuckered out. Neither of our children have ever fallen asleep while sitting in their high chair before... but now they have.

 This lad has kept us on our toes!! Life with a three year old us so dynamic.
 I've grown quite fond of searching for sea glass.
 See what I mean? So tuckered out. This hardly ever happens. It was a sweet moment to savor.
 Our downtown has this great music wall! We were pretty excited to find it, but none more than Ian!
 Our new play room has us all really thrilled :)
 We've eaten really well and loved having many different summer meals.

 For our 8th anniversary meal Jim made a scallops and grits dinner that was to die for! So, I requested it again one week later for my birthday. Hehe!
 Jim planned a sweet date morning for our anniversary.
 This was one of my favorite days ever.
If you look closely, Owen's holding a crab!! So proud.
 Ian's really into searching for crabs and other critters on the shore!

We adopted 9 chicks! They are about three weeks old now, but in this picture they were only days old. They still reside in our basement, though we have given them a couple of foraging forays in the run, and chirp all the day long. It's going to be strange not to have their presence in the house when they go into the coop in a few weeks!
We have attempted to hike a trail twice and finally think we know which way to go now! Haha! But what we've done has been so beautiful! This night was especially sweet when we went and ate dinner out of the back of the car, then hiked and sang songs together :)

 Ian and I had a special morning date to the playground at his future elementary school! It's seriously the coolest playground ever.

 On my 31st birthday we went to Drowned Forest Beach so I could search for more sea glass. For the first time ever I found a HUGE piece of blue sea glass, which is the rarest one to find. Pretty good birthday present, if you ask me!
 That birthday morning I had some sweet coffee time with just Ian <3 And my new hat, one of my presents :)

 We tried Annabelle's Ice Cream for the first time at Emery Farm and it is SO GOOD!

 We've gotten an herb garden going! I love tending an herb garden and harvesting the herbs right outside our house as I make dinner. It's quite soul-filling. I don't have pictures of it- ha! But I do have some of this Enchanted Evening that's growing in the same bed.
 We REALLY love the beach. Ian keeps saying how much he loves it. Jim and Ian often plot to go to the beach before he goes down for his nap. We've taken many a picnic dinner and enjoyed time out on the beach. How incredibly fun to live so close!

Silly boy!

 Emery Farm has been a great place for us to pick berries! They had pick your own blueberries and raspberries, but the season just ended. We made sure to go as much as we could! The boys really fell into the routine of it and followed me around the rows, picking all of them for their bellies. One day perhaps they'll put more than a couple into the containers, but we're not there yet!

 Emery Farm has a petting zoo, which makes it even more perfect. After we've picked all we can pick, we pay for the berries, and then head over to the petting zoo to enjoy watching and touching whatever's willing to get close to two boisterous boys!
 Our little darlings are growing up!
 It's startling how quickly these boys are growing up. For his bedtime story, we've been reading Ian "Charlotte's Web." He was able to tell me the entire chapter he'd read the night before, then listened intently to the following chapter, and then proceeded to search through the entire book's pictures before bed, figuring out the story as well as he could. And he's choosing to sleep in the top bunk! HOW??!! Such a big boy.
 The little boys and I went to Touch a Truck and they had a blast!

 Sooki's our lone egg-laying bird, for now! She made the trek from Virginia just fine! Jim made this great path down to her coop and run. The boys love to run down and check on her multiple times a day! Ian will often call behind him as the door is slamming that he's going to go check on Sooki! Owen also can be found down the path, often eating the raspberries and blackberries that grow along it ;)
 We went to our first Music by the Sea at Seacoast Science Center. It was fun!!
 More berries :)

 We went to see "Mary Poppins" at Prescott Park in Portsmouth. It's such a wonderful place. I was overcome by tears at one point as I looked around the audience and marveled at how such a production and park could exist. It's all donation-based and there is an endowment that covers the park. Absolutely no one is allowed to be turned away if they don't pay and the entire place was PACKED. I'm talking hundreds upon hundreds (maybe a thousand or more) of people were there enjoying the show. It's so beautiful and necessary for all people to be able to experience the arts. And this place has HUGE bands and gigs come to play, so it's an incredible gift.

This was such a fun musical to see with Ian! He skipped nap time, which made him look like he was absolutely miserable, but he soaked the entire thing in. And he followed the storyline just fine! Ever since, we've been singing a lot of songs from it and getting them to play on "Alexa." It's a joy to be able to experience the arts with him!

 Also, part of what was so moving was how incredible the audience was. It was a very respecful, very engaged group, for as many people as were there and watching an OUTSIDE performance! I was amazed.
 Afterward, we were incredibly hot, so we stopped for some Annabelle's ice cream at Emery Farm and the boys visited the donkeys. This time they were brave enough to start feeding them!
 Backyard foraging.

 A friend dubbed this the "Double Flamingo"--- I mean, it's perfect.
 Rainy days call for freezer jam makin'!!!
Jim's been doing a lot of dreaming about a kitchen remodel, down the road. It's exciting!

 A boy and his net!
 Hiking again!

New Hampshire, we're loving you so far. I know it's summer and we have yet to experience the winter, but we are pretty smitten already.