Monday, July 23, 2012

things we always do

Very long, because we always do so many things...  

Hike to the Punch Bowl at Beebe Woods

It's really a walk in the woods.  We often talk about wearing swimsuits and using those rope swings to jump into the Punch Bowl, but we haven't done it yet.  We usually content ourselves looking for wildlife.  This year we rewarded with not only tadpoles and a frog (only one, sadly), but also a catfish.

The Traditional Bench Photo, Ninth(!!!) Anniversary edition


Big fat tadpole, well-camouflaged

Laconic catfish.

It was a hot day but cool enough in the shade in the woods.   When we came back to the car I wandered around the restored grounds taking pictures of Highfield Hall to show my mother.  They have done tremendous work restoring the old mansion and grounds.
The magnificent sunken garden between the hall and the theater

Spectacular view of the restored Highfield Hall and its beautifully landscaped grounds from the entirely new parking lot below it.

Chapoquoit Beach

We are not "beach day" people any more, if we ever really were.  Now we putter around in the morning and early afternoon, doing what needs to be done, and head to the beach for a few hours at the end of the day.  There were times when this was tremendously frustrating to me, but I got over it.

Timing the camera to the jump is always tricky.

 We only made to the beach a handful of times this year, but the sand was soft and white and the water was gorgeously clear -- cool the first few times, wonderfully warm after that.  No jellyfish, very little seaweed, and few bugs.

The only time all year we got ice cream from the Ice Cream Man!
The kids took themselves off to Bayside several times but I did not join them. Usually that was after dinner and I was working on my Spanish or just hanging out with Mom.

Ice Cream

I lost count of how many times we went out for ice cream.  It was kind of ridiculous, but in a good way.  Dairy Queen had coffee soft serve "for a limited time", and it was delicious, so we kept going back.  I think we went at least 4 times, maybe 5.  That doesn't sound like that much but when you factor in that we also went to Smitty's (2x), Ghelfi's (2x), and Ben and Bill's Chocolate Emporium, you can see that we were practically going out for ice cream every other day on the Cape.  The trend continued in CT, when my mother-in-law took the kids down to Bloom Hill for ice cream at least 3 times in the one week we were there! 
Strange things happening @DQ

Woods Hole, with and without bikes

Before DH came, my sister-in-law and I took all the kids down to Woods Hole for a day.  We had lunch at Pie in the Sky as usual, and then we went on the Ocean Quest discovery cruise.  More on that later, since it's not something we always do.  Pie in the Sky remains awesome, and we didn't mind going back there with DH when we biked down with him one day.

The big tree just across the street from Pie in the Sky
Feasts and Parties

Both my family and DH's family enjoy eating, perhaps too much.  Summer and just being there is enough of an excuse for us to throw together feasts and parties whenever we can.  Our first feast -- lobster and steak, with corn on the cob -- was to celebrate the arrival of my Louisiana brother and his family.  Two days later we had Mom's 85th birthday party,with something like 43 people in attendance, all immediate family: children, grand-children, and great-grandchildren.  What an awesome day.

Awesome 85 Cake

Cake-baking (and decorating!) Sister and Mom

On the 'regular' days we had only minor feasting of ribs or burgers on the grill.  I believe I made at least three blueberry cakes, but only one peach pie.  It took forever for the peaches to come in this year.

Three weeks after my Mom's party we had a birthday party for the guys in the family who are turning 50 and 60.  We called it "The Old Man" party, and it was a slightly smaller version of Mom's, but still quite awesome, even though the soon-to-be-50 guy got called into work.  (All of the party decorations were carefully stored away so they can be used on me next year.  I have mixed feelings about that!)
My Mom's newest great-grandbaby

They may be 60 but they can still handle those knives!
DD practices photo-bombing.  Yes, the lobsters are bigger than the bottle of wine.The platter in front is waiting for the corn on the cob.  The pie was awesome.
Our last feast was perhaps the best for us, because it wasn't a crazy day.  Just us, my Mom and my sister, three lobsters totaling 13 pounds, corn on the cob, lobster bisque, baked stuffed quahogs, and peach pie.  These were the first lobsters we had bought at Falmouth Fish Market because Green Pond didn't have any of the big guys.  We were very, very pleased with them.  (We probably could have done with just two, because we had nearly an entire lobster left over.  It did not go to waste, it made great lobster salad the next day.) 

Talcott Mountain I: Concert

We heard an evening of Elton John music this year.  It was delightful.  The kids enjoy the picnicking more than the music, but that's OK.  We brought bottles of wine from our trip to Mystic and enjoyed sipping and singing along.
DS2 grew four inches in the last year.  He's not little anymore.
Pre-concert entertainment with smart phone photos.
Talcott Mountain II: Hiking to the Heublein Tower

DS1 suggested this on our last full day in CT.  It was humid but the shade of the mountain made it bearable.  The heat and lack of rain really stressed the plants in CT, in contrast to how lush and gorgeous everything looked on the Cape.  Still, we had a great hike, with one nifty new find.
The catch-basin where we often find big frogs was more like a mud puddle, but there were dozens of these tiny, well-hidden tree frogs.

At the top of the moutain, a cardinal posed perfectly framed by the window in the shell of the field stone house.

One of my favorite views of the Tower.

A porch, a swing, a beautiful view. 
The kids stay with their Nana and Papa, and DH and I take off.  On the way down we stopped at Bishops for a quick sandwich and a tasting of their fruit wines.  Their raspberry dessert wine is outstanding.  We stay every year at the Mermaid Inn. It's charming.  Mystic is charming, and although we've talked about going somewhere else, nothing else seems as appealing. 
towards Mystic Seaport

The S&P Oyster House.  We dined outside here for the first time ever.  Their calamari is the best I have ever had.
Amazing icon of St. Michael, winner of the painting prize at the annual art show.


It was very hot and humid in CT, draining us of all ambition.  DS1 worked on his math course and I worked on my Spanish and all the kids slept very late every day.  DH did some research and tracked down a go-cart place and bowling alley, and we had a blast.  The go-kart track was a well-designed figure 8 with curves and hills that were just sharp and steep enough.  Afterwards, we went and bowled a game of duckpins at a bowling alley so old-school that you had to manually remove the dead wood (not allowed in duckpins) and reset after your frame.  We played by time, not by game, so after the first game when we still had more time, DH and I bowled another (he eviscerated me) while the kids played the arcade games.  DS2 was thrilled with his inflatable tie-dye guitar.

We bowled again in Falmouth, too, at Ryan (formerly Leary) Family Amusements near Town Hall.  It's easier on everyone because the system is completely automated. DS2 found his stride and clobbered us all. If there were candlepins around anywhere, we would probably bowl more often, but tenpin is just not as much fun to me.

Something jinxed us this year.  On my way out with the kids we had a medical emergency on board and were diverted to St. Louis, where we had brutal turbulence.  Kudos to SouthWest Airlines, though, because if I were having a heart attack on a plane, I would want them to land it to get me to a hospital, too.  Anyway, we arrived hours late.

DH flew in on July 4th and had weather delays of two hours.

All of us flew back last Thursday, where we had both weather delays and a medical emergency (when a bloody nose results in blood also flowing from the eye, well, yes, you should get that guy off the plane.) Instead of landing at 9:30PM we landed at 2AM or thereabouts.

This little guy kept us company in Phoenix before our first flight out.
In the midst of all that we marveled that it hadn't happened to us before.  We've really been very lucky.  The kids were all old enough to deal with it well, and it really wasn't a problem.  We go into "travel mode" and just stay there until we're home.

And now we are home, and glad to be here.

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