Saturday, July 31, 2010

2010 Camping: Greenfield State Park

After all the fun we had on our first camping trip of the summer we were pretty ready for camping trip #2.  In late July we went back to Greenfield State Park in NH with our dear friends Lisa, Rick, Sofia and Aly.  We went camping with them two summers ago when there were still only six of us.  Lily and Sofia were between 1.5 and 2 years old.  We only camped for one night that time so it was a little crazy. To add to that, the girls didn't sleep very well.  So we left the next day pretty exhausted.  But it was fun enough that we decided to try it again this year.

Although that first trip was short we really liked all that the campgrounds had to offer - pretty large campsites, a really nice lake and beach for swimming and a small paved loop perfect for bike riding.  This time around we got two campsites side-by-side to give us a little more room.  We arrived Friday night and spent the evening setting up camp and eating (of course).  Here's a picture of Sofia contemplating her toasted marshmallow:

Saturday was our only full day at the campsite and we managed to pack a lot into it.  Lily and Quinn slept really well again so we were lucky.  Lisa and Rick we unfortunately kept up by much of the night by a really loud group a few campsites down.  So they were  a bit more tired than us on Saturday.  Quinn woke up first, as usual and he and Gordon got a head start on breakfast.  One big change from the Harold Parker trip is that Quinn was fully walking, and that really made things a lot easier.  Of course we had to be more careful around the fire and all that, but it was so nice that he could toddle around the campsite and keep himself busy.

Saturday morning the campground held a little pond exploration session, so Gordon and Rick took the older girls while Lisa and I stayed behind with Aly so Quinn could nap.   It was really fun to have some  time to both chat with Lisa (in full sentences! without interruptions!) and spend some time getting to know Aly.  In the meantime Lily and Sofia had a great time pulling up muck out of the pond and searching for cool stuff.

I think they could pass as cousins

Getting a closer look with some help from Dad

Examining the muck

Coming back with a treasure (there's her serious face again!)

A little later on Gordon and I took Lily and Quinn to the lake while Lisa, Rick and the girls took their naps.  We were only going to stay for a little while, but the kids were just having so much fun.  We swam around a bit and then played in the sand.  Gordon and Lily began digging a big hole and filling it with water (a favorite activity of theirs). Quinn took one look at what they were doing, walked over, sat in the hole and refused to move.  He thought it was the best.  Eventually the hole became big enough so Lily could get in there with him.  I was sitting a little ways away on a towel relaxing and watching them play.  No sooner had I thought, "gee it's nap time, but they're having so much fun, let's just stay" when I looked over in time to catch Lily dumping a big pile of wet sand on Quinn's head.  

Sadly our pictures end here - Gordon had some kind of camera/photo mishap that resulted in him losing all the Sunday pictures.  But you'll have to take my word for it - we had a really nice time.  I found myself thinking over and over again during the weekend that I just REALLY love camping.  I love getting dirty and not caring.  I love sitting around the fire in camp chairs eating marshmallows.  I love that the kids are free to run around, explore, get dirty, and make noise without anyone caring.  I love that all they need is a bucket and a shovel to entertain themselves.  I love being away from email and computers and telephones and all that is both great and frustrating about modern life.  It's just so relaxing.  Maybe we'll buy an RV some day (or at least a really cool B.A.T*).

At one point Lily and I were walking to the bathrooms and I heard this steady knocking sound.  I looked to the left and there, right on the edge of the path was a woodpecker perched on a tree trunk pretty much at Lily's eye level.  We stopped quietly and watched him for a while.   When we got back to the campsite Lily told Gordon about it very excitedly - she explained how he was a white and black woodpecker, with a red tail.  I love moments like that - sitting there, arm around my daughter, just watching, taking the time to really see the world around us.

To be fair though, one reason that camping is so great for me is that Gordon does such an awesome job keeping us fed while we're out in the "wilderness".  I may have baked some scones, but he does all that real work.  So thanks G!  And thanks to Lisa, Rick and the girls for sharing such a nice weekend with us.

*Big Ass Tent

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Teddy Bear Parade

Stephanie and Tara organized the Teddy Bear Parade as part of the summer happy hour series.  It was the first highly non-traditional happy hour in that it was held on a Thursday and included teddy bears and entertainment.  Stephanie outdid herself as usual.  The event was held at Lincoln Park, right by her house and her husband Joe told me at some point that he believed all the furniture in his house had migrated out to the event.  The event was publicized far outside the Happy Hour circle and was really well attended.  The kids were encouraged to bring their favorite stuffed animal and a doll stroller for the parade.  Each child got a number, a musical instrument and some Teddy Grahams.  There were grills for hot dogs and a bunch of side dishes, deserts.  Stephanie held a big song circle and after the kids paraded around there was a performance by the Somerville Sunsetters.

Gordon was out of town that weekend with family so my Mom came up to hang out with us.  It was really fun to have my Mom there and the extra set of hands gave me a chance to take some pictures.  The event is not nearly as well photographed as it would have been had Gordon been there, but I did manage to get a few shots.  Lily and Quinn both enjoyed playing at the little playground there before the festivities.  Quinn was not yet walking and Lily opted out of the parade part, but she was completely mesmerized by the Sunsetters.  There was one Sunsetter in particular who did a solo of "These Boots are Made for Walking" that really caught her eye.  When we went home that evening Lily insisted that she was a Sunsetter.  She went on talking about them and pretending to be one for a few days.  I was sort of sad that she was no longer pretending to be John Flansburgh.

Here are the pics - thanks Stephanie and Tara for another awesome event!

Ellen Greeting the Participants

Sophie Hanging Around

Quinn Exploring the Playground

Stephanie Leading the Big Enormous Spider

The only actual parade picture I got

The 2010 Sunsetters

Friday, July 2, 2010

Happy Hour: July 2, 2010

As summer marched on so did the Happy Hours.  Sadly we were absent for most of the July ones, but we did manage to get to the first July event hosted by Lisa, Jed, Lara-Jean and Zachary.  They have a great backyard-driveway setup and the kids had a great time playing in the pool, sliding down the slide and driving around in the many vehicles.  Lisa and Jed put out a great spread of food and the kids got to eat some kind of frozen yogurt push-pop treat that made an impression on Lily ("pear-papaya-coconut" she kept repeating for weeks after)  At one point in the afternoon I looked around and realized Lily had disappeared.  She was upstairs in the house, by herself, eagerly going through Lara-Jean's book collection.  Wow - she really is my daughter.

Here are Gordon's pics from the event.  I apologize in advance for the Quinn focus - he was just too cute crawling around and climbing up and down the slide.  It's funny to think that he wasn't walking yet then (given that I'm writing this post well over a month later....)

The water slide

Man, that was a wild ride!

Abbe and Kata

Here I come!

 I totally own this slide thing

Stopping on the corner to chat: L-J & Kata

Ezra and Marlena on the slide
Zachary and the popular yogurt pops

Sometimes the adults got to have conversations (or at least start them)