We're up in NH for the week on our first ever MasterWong family vacation. I mean we've been away on vacations as a family before, but always to visit other family members, or take a big big family trip or attend a wedding. But when this year came along we realized we had nothing planned and could pretty much do anything we wanted. We had some big ideas, but in the end decided to stay somewhat local due in part to a big backyard project earlier in the summer. So we found a really cute house by the Saco river in Glen, NH - and here we are.
The biggest goal of this trip is just to get ourselves away from the hectic pace we've been going at lately in order to catch our breaths. My job - while basically awesome - has been taking a lot of my resources and Gordon's has been doing the same. We've had a fun summer, but also spent a lot of it trying to figure out how to get Lily across town and all around to different summer camps while we still managed to get all our work done - oh and go camping on the weekends. All while keeping our cool (not really) as we muddle through Quinn's yo-yo bedtime stage that you just know motivated this book. Bottom line is that we were more than ready for a break.
We left the 'Ville yesterday (Saturday) and drove "up North" (as Quinn says*). We hit some traffic on 93 (shocking, right?) and then on the advice of friends stopped for a picnic lunch by the Mercury-Redmond rocket at the McAuliffe-Shepard Discover Center in Concord. The original plan was to lunch here and then continue on to the Polar Caves, but Lily really wanted to go inside and I am easily suckered into a space-themed museum - so inside we went. It was a cute little museum - definitely great for pit stop. They've got both space shuttle and lunar lander simulators (I enjoyed searching the controls for the DAP buttons). We spent a while walking around, read some books, and viewed the sun up in the observatory. In one of life's odd little juxtapositions I checked facebook on the way out only to find that Neil Armstrong had passed away. It was fitting to spend a few hours immersing myself in space exploration on the day that we said goodbye to one of our nation's heros. Lily and I enjoyed the museum. I asked Quinn if he liked it and he said: "no, there were no animals. only astronauts." Saturday evening was spent getting settled in at the house and procuring groceries for the next few days.
Today we decided to avoid crowds are major area attractions. So we went waterfall hunting. We started with at Glen Ellis Falls near Pinkham Notch. The falls go over about a 60 foot drop, and it's a really easy hike from the parking area. Perfect with little ones and very pretty. At first Lily didn't want to go hiking, but was soon having a fantastic time scrambling over boulders and pointing out animal burrows. The original plan was to check out another waterfall in Pinkham Notch, but Quinny was already asking for "shoulder time" on the hike back, so we decided not to push it to save G's back.
We decided to finish up the afternoon back at our little home away from home and explore the access to the Saco river from "our" backyard. The river here is a lot faster that the swimming hole at Jackson Falls. We jealously watched some folks go tubing by and started scheming on how to get some tubes of our own. Lily spent a while skipping rocks and building dams with Gordon while Quinn danced around putting on shows for me. As we were wrapping up the day we were joined by a friendly neighborhood(?) dog who took a particular liking to Gordon. Lily kept trying to get him to notice her instead and was heartbroken when it was time to go inside. She's hoping that he comes to visit us again. When we got back to the house we found two tubes stashed by the side - score! We're hoping to try them out in the days to come.
The night ended with a trip to Flatbreads in North Conway. Bedtime wasn't entirely smooth but it was better than usual, and G and I both succeeded in not losing our cool entirely. Another little side goal of this trip is to try to reset our interactions as a family. There's been a lot of yelling going on lately by all of us - due in part to the hectic pace of our lives. We're really hoping to detox a bit from all of that and get back on a calmer, happier track. Wish us luck - so far so good - today was already an easier day than yesterday!
* Quinn's day care provider, Kathy, was born and raised in Somerville and has the corresponding accent - it's like comfort food for the ears for me. Anyway, Kathy and Paul have a house in NH where they vacation so Kathy often tells that kids about going "Up North" - but she says it without the "r". So when Q found out we were going to NH on vacation he asked if we were also going "Up North" - so I said, yup "Up North". He got mad and said "NO! UP Noth!!!". It took both Kathy and I to convince him that we were indeed saying the same thing!