This is the view as we pulled away from the island. And I must say, it probably doesn't stink to live in that house:
I know, enough posts about Block Island. But I did warn you that I took a couple pictures while I was there (more like a couple of hundred but who's counting). Anyway we ended up on the last ferry of the day and it was kind of funny how that happened. We had a weird kind of day for us. There was a lot of waiting. We hit traffic going down there so we missed the ferry and had to wait for the next one. Then we had to wait for our table at lunch which has never happened to us before and they had just sat down so we had to wait a while. Surprisingly enough, the kids took all this waiting in stride and we really didn't hear any complaints (well my son grumbled a little that he was HUNGRY but that is nothing new). All the waiting served its purpose though because then we really had no choice but to take the last ferry home. And boy, am I glad that we did. It may have been the most amazing sunset that I have ever seen.
This is the view as we pulled away from the island. And I must say, it probably doesn't stink to live in that house:
My mom said to me that it is too bad that seagulls are such scavengers because sometimes they can be so beautiful. Plus they are such a symbol of the sea.
The sunset, I think, speaks for itself:
A couple of our intrepid travelers:
Too funny, I asked the kids if next year they wanted to leave the house at 6:00 in the morning so we could have more time and one of their friends shouted "Yes" and then she said, "Umm, that's if I'm invited?" I told her once you come with us and want to go back, then you are always welcome with us. We love anyone that loves our favorite place!
So I showed you some pictures from our ferry ride, now I will show you some pictures from lunch and our trek up (or should I say down) to Mohegan Bluffs. We got off the ferry and walked over to the place that we always have lunch. Not only do we have lunch at the same restaurant but we have to sit a the same table every year. My kids are nothing if not creatures of habit. But actually the table was already occupied so we had to decide if we wanted to wait or not. So I asked the kids what they wanted to do since if I made the wrong decision, then I would have to hear about it for the rest of the day, no scratch that, the rest of the YEAR. They decided to wait, probably aided by the fact that we could wait on across the street on the beach.
It's my kind of restaurant when the parking lot is a bike rack:
Our table (and our group):
My view from our table:
Then we went up to Mohegan bluffs. My mom tried to talk the kids out of going there this year, they were downright scandalized by the suggestion. Talk about hearing about it for a year. If you have never been, the thing you need to understand about the bluffs is that you have to climb down 143 steps. That is not so bad but then you eventually have to climb back up. Maybe that is why they added this sign. It must be noted that I am not usually a big fan of strenuous exercise, just saying.
My kids had an absolute blast in the waves:
We did some exploring (and the kids did some drawing):
And then it was time to tackle the steps again:( But we rewarded ourselves with ice cream for a job well done once we were back in town. And in case you are wondering, yes we go to the same ice cream place every year. And it is actually called The Ice Cream Place.
Since this is kind of longish post, I think that I will save the ferry ride home for tomorrow. Be sure to tune in though, it may have been one of the most incredible sunsets that I have ever seen.
I have decided to split my Block Island trip into a couple of different posts because, big surprise, I took too many pictures. This year we hit a crazy amount of traffic on the way down, some stupid road construction or something so we missed our ferry. A ferry that we had given ourselves 2 hours and 15 minutes to make (the drive normally takes about an hour and a half so we figured we were safe, wrong!! Stupid traffic). The kids were fabulous about it though, no complaining at all. The extra time before the ferry gave us time to stop at Cumberland Farms. Their Chill Zone prices for slushes (.89 cents for any size) and hot dogs (2 for $2) are some of my favorite summer bargains. Plus this particular one was beautiful inside which made me and the kids happy. Proving once again that it really is the little things in life for me.
We also got a chance to take a walk down to the beach near the ferry and take a walk on the jetty.
When we finally got on the ferry, we happened to see this Coast Guard boat, is it just me or does this remind anyone else of the scene at the end of the movie, "Overboard"?
And in the words of the Coast Guard Spotter Lucas in that movie, "It's a helluva day at sea, Sir!" Which it was, the water and the sky were just the most amazing shades of blue. These are some of the views of the island from the ferry:
Right before we got there, the kids decided to come up and join us ( they disappear once we get on the ferry and do their own thing, yet another thing I love it about it!) and of course my youngest just had to "model" for me. I think that the picture on the right is supposed to be like the movie "Titanic":
Block Island is the kind of place that people may wear a nice hat when they visit, just saying:
Stay tuned this week for more highlights from our trip.
Sorry just time for a really quick post today. Unfortunately, it won't be about Block Island. I have a very busy day today and I had an unbelievably productive day yesterday but I have not yet had the chance to sort through my hundreds of pictures. And I think I"ll end up having to post about that trip in installments. I will leave you with a teaser picture though. I was flipping through my pictures really quickly when my daughter happened by. She saw this one and exclaimed, "Wow, Mom, that is really pretty. It looks tropical or something." Well Block Island has been called Bermuda of the North on occasion (and not just by mom, I can hear my sarcastic husband now, "Yeah, by your mother"). Oh and fyi, we climbed down to that beach, more on that later in the week. I haven't done a Friday Night Video in a while so in honor of the tropical comment, I will feature this Beach Boy classic (actually big artistic license there calling this song a classic anything. Maybe classically bad.)
Happy Friday, everyone!
So yesterday, we went to one of my favorite places on earth (unfortunately for me, it is also one of the most expensive places that I visit but worth it, so worth it!). I want to share it all with you right now so much but I don't think that I will do it justice. See, I want (actually not want, need!) to get some other stuff done today but I will offer a quick sneak peek:
I think that any time that your day starts like this (please note the sign up above. Personally, I took it as a sign of how the day was going to go):
And ends like this:
Then you know that you must be doing something right! Happy Thursday!
So on Sunday, my stepbrother and his wife were kind enough to host the whole bunch of us for a cookout/portrait session. With some many people, I was a little nervous that we would be able to get some good shots but I think that we accomplished our goal. The kids were all really good and cooperative so it ended up going more smoothly than I could have even hoped. We started off with just the kids:
My sister-in-law, Barbara was joking around saying that she was going to put the above picture on Facebook with the caption, "How we see them" and the next one with the caption "How they really are":
Then we added in Nani and Pappy. Of course, we put them in the center in the spot of honor, an honor befitting these terrific grandparents of 20:
Then we all jumped in to make the picture complete (and crowded!):
Then I took some individual family pictures of any family that would like one. Our wonderful host and hostess and their beautiful kids:
My brother and his terrific family:
My other brother and his fabulous crew. By the way, each of these 2 sister-in-laws said that they liked the other's picture better. The grass is always greener, especially in this yard, there was an abundance of greenery around.
And then my family:
Just kidding, my turkey brains didn't want to cooperate and I was too worn out from all the picture taking to fight about it.
My extended family please note: You can click here to see all the pictures from the day. If you enlarge them, then they will have a number underneath. Please let me know by the end of the week, if you would like to order anything.
So just a quick post today since I promised myself that I would clean my house today. It desperately needs it and I have been neglecting it horribly lately. So yesterday, my whole family met to see if we could get a family picture. Well it was my whole family with my mother and stepfather. One thing you need to understand about my family tree is that if it were a literal tree, then it would be one of those crazy, gnarled up trees that grow in all kinds of directions. You know, not a simple tree at all, but one with a serious amount of character (or in this case, characters). Anyway, I have 2 brothers and one sister and on this particular side, I have a stepbrother and stepsister. Add in 5 spouses and 20 kids between us, then any way you slice it, that is a lot of people for one picture. One note, we were missing 2 of the grandchildren which is definitely too bad but since 31 out of 33 people were there, that means that 98% of the family was present. Pretty good percentage, my kids would take that on a test in a heartbeat. I will have more pictures done as the week goes on but for starters, I present to you, Nani and Pappy and 90% of their grandchildren (18 out of 20 for those doing the math at home).
So yesterday, I decided to head up to a softball tournament that was being held in town. I knew a bunch of the girls that were playing for our town and I figured that I could get some pictures. Plus the weather was just picture perfect so it was a good excuse to spend the day outside. Of course, cleaning my yard would have also been a good excuse to stay outside but I didn't feel like doing that. Anyway I am so glad that I went up because the organizers did an incredible job. The fields looked great, the atmosphere was festive and the games were fast paced and competitive.
It is kind of funny too. I am reading "The Passionate Photographer" by Steve Simon and am currently on the section about how to tell a story with pictures. So it got me thinking how to best tell the story of this tournament. I needed to include pictures of the signs:
the airbrush tent (I love that I'm the coach that's why, I think I should get an I'm the mom that's why):
the camper from the team in Maine:
the many dedicated volunteers including players selling raffle tickets. The proceeds from one of the raffles went directly to the family of Chris Backman, a father of 3, who was tragically killed in a car accident on July 4th.
The tournament standings:
And of course, lots of action shots of our two local teams in the tournament:
I even spotted some beautiful butterflies on my way back to my car. I swear they are following me around these days:
Today is once again a beautiful day for some softball. I have a prior commitment so unfortunately I can't go to the tournament today but I want to wish all the teams good luck!
So I received this sign as a part of a thank you for helping out with my neighbor's project. I have to say that she is a clever one, I wouldn't let her pay me but we brokered a deal where she could give me another bottle of margaritas and some salsa (it was all in good fun, I am not usually in the habit of dictating what people can give me. Well unless it is my husband, then...). Anyway I have to say that she stayed true to the spirit of our deal but she did add some wonderful embellishments, like this sign and a really cool lunch box. I can't wait for the kids see it when I go back to work in the fall, they will think I am so cool. She also gave me some chips and salsa so my "boys" were happy to see me come home last night.
As for the sign, I just love it and I could not agree more with the sentiment. And I'm finding it to be even more true as I get older. That is actually one of the things that I truly don't mind about getting older, the depth and security that age has added to my friendships. Although, as the sign says, true friends are difficult to find, I have been adding them all along as I have gotten older so my friendships span across my whole life. The friends that are still in my life are the friends that I don't have to be anything other than myself with. They get me. And that, I think, is the nicest thing that any friend can give to another. So to all my true friends out there, thanks, love you all!
So yesterday one of my dear friends and her family let us crash their vacation for the day. We had a great time and certainly crammed a lot of fun in one day since we hit two different beaches, stayed for dinner, took a walk to feed the ducks and got our One Direction fill (well my daughters did, with 3 huge fans in our midst, I got more than my fill).
We started the day at the Knob in Falmouth. I had never been there before which is a shame because it is a really cool place. It's about a 10 or 15 minute hike (to use the term hike in the loosest possible way) from where you park up to the Knob (no idea why it is called that, kind of a strange name if you ask me. If anyone knows why it is called that, then I would love to hear it). The views at the top were spectacular and the climb down to the water was easy enough that the kids were able to do their best billy goat impressions and climb up and down at will.
This next picture makes me laugh, mostly because if I was one of those people that named my artwork, I would entitle this one, "A Man and his Chip".
After that, it was just a short walk around the bend to a beach that the kids could actually go swimming in.
This is a view of the Knob from down on the beach
Then we ended the day by relaxing at Falmouth Heights beach. Doesn't this "pirate" ship looked like it has a flock of little ducklings following it?
And, of course, if there is a wall, then the rules of childhood state that kids must spend time jumping from it.
Getting their One Direction fix. Oh and look at how clean her feet are! I have no idea how that happened, my kids' feet never look that clean in the summer.
The pond where we fed the ducks.
Just a wonderful summer day all around. Thanks again to our friends for letting us crash vacation.
So I wrote about this picture being an unexpected bonus the other day. Then yesterday I changed it to be my Facebook profile picture because I just love it. I have gotten some comments on their happy smiles and what a great family. And it's true, they all look so happy and sweet and just wonderful. But don't be fooled by their masterful happy kid disguises. They aren't usually this happy and wonderful. As a matter of fact, they just plain stink some of the time. They argue with me constantly, they torment each other incessantly, they promise to do things and then they don't do them. They say things like, "Wow, maybe we should have taken all those beach towels in before it rained." Some of them don't do their homework, some of them only do their homework (as in, "I can't possibly do the dishwasher, laundry, etc. I have WAY TOO MUCH homework"). They watch the most inane, ridiculous stuff on TV. They never all want to go wherever it is that we are going (my oldest just begged off our current venture today, although she did promise to clean the house while we were gone. Unlike others, she is usually pretty good about her promises). They use my stuff without asking, they lose my stuff without caring. So please don't be deceived by the wonderfulness of this picture, they are not the pleasant, easygoing, fun-loving group that they appear to be. But, but, moments like this make it all worthwhile. Add that to the fact that I love them all so and I wouldn't change a thing.
Sorry that this post is so late in the day today but I do have a reason, I swear. And actually it is a bit of a story too (isn't it always?). See yesterday I went to my dad's house because it is still really, really hot around here and he has a pool. Of course, I love him and love to hang out with him, it wasn't just about the pool. Now, my dad is retired and in the course of conversation, he commented that he didn't know why anyone would work if they didn't absolutely have too. My sister and I disagreed with him (this is quite the common occurence in my family) and said that we would probably always want to have some sort of job. He said that after he retired that he had a job for 10 hours a week and hated it. But then he mentioned that he worked alone and never saw anyone and that he got to choose when he went in to work. I think I would hate that too, for a couple of different reasons. First off, I like the social part of working and he didn't have that. And the second reason is something I read a long time ago in a book called "The Paradox of Choice". Basically the author, Barry Schwartz, says that having choices sometimes makes us unhappy instead of happy. Funny side story, my dad asked me if I had the book and I said yes, I store it with all my other books at the public library. Anyway I have noticed this with myself. As a sub I have some days scheduled but I also have some days that I get a call in the morning. If they haven't called by a certain time, then it usually means that I won't be working so I'll start to plan my day. And as I start thinking of all my choices for the day: go to the gym, clean my house, go food shopping, the choices start to seem endless and the thought of making a choice exhausting and then sometimes the phone would ring. And it would just seem like a whole lot less work to go to work.
Now you're probably thinking this is great but what on earth does it have to do with this post being late. Well I got a call to sub at the summer program in town this morning. I have never gotten a call in the summer before in the 5 years that I have been a substitute teacher and I just thought it was kind of ironic (not sure if I'm using it properly but if Alanis can use it about spoons, then I can use it here) to get a call today after having that conversation yesterday. It worked out pretty well too since I wasn't crazy about my choices today: staying at my hot house which is a total mess but it's too hot to clean or going to the beach but even that wasn't uncomplicated. Some of my kids wanted to go but some didn't and the weather looked really unsettled (as I sit here, it is pouring rain and thundering and lightening out). Another couple of ways that it worked is that I still had a sandwich in the refrigerator from the other day so I had a ready made lunch and I got the only air-conditioned gig in the whole building.
So yesterday, unable to face the heat again, we decided to head to the beach later in the day. We went later because my youngest daughter, who has fully recovered from her recent infection, had a hip hop class at our local library at 2:00 this afternoon. But this didn't stop us, we just planned to go when class was finished. This worked out perfectly for me because as I have mentioned before, my favorite time of day at the beach is when the crowds and the heat are dissipating. And actually when we got there, we were a little (maybe a lot) chilly. Of course my kids complained that they were freezing and told me that this was my worst idea EVER and then proceeded to go in the water for 45 minutes (but mom, the water is much warmer than the air). We had packed dinner so we ate and then went to one of my new favorite places, the A Street Pier. Finally, we topped off the night by stopping for ice cream. So, so much more pleasant than sitting around here sweating and snapping at each other.
But the total unexpected bonus of the whole thing is that I got a picture of all 4 of my kids together. I don't know what made them cooperate (maybe my husband standing over them threateningly....) but they did and it came out pretty good of all of them. And that right there is well worth the astronomical price of 4 ice creams.
You know, most of the time that I complain about something, I don't have to look too far to put things into perspective. Take the weather these days. As Matthew Broderick said in "Biloxi Blues", "Man it's hot. It's like Africa hot. Tarzan couldn't take this kind of hot." Anyway this weekend has been hot (and the humidity's been like 100%). Well yesterday we were stuck at our house all day. My youngest daughter had developed an infection in her foot Saturday afternoon (of course, it was after the doctor's office had closed for the day so we had to go to the ER and spend $100 on a co-pay) and she really couldn't do much yesterday. So it was sit home and sweat, and sweat we did. Well I was complaining about it for the 100th time or so when I remembered the firemen from the fire in Quincy the day before. My mother-in-law lives in the neighborhood directly across the street from where the fire was. Like so directly across that my sister-in-law couldn't even get into the street because the police had it sealed off. Anyway I can't even begin to imagine how hot they must have been fighting the fire in all that gear at close range. So then I stopped complaining. Well not really, I still complained but I at least acknowledged to myself that I could have it a whole lot worse.
The smoke was so thick at times that it would completely engulf the fireman on the higher ladder. So much so that at times, we couldn't even see him from our vantage point across the street. Not being a big fan of heights (huge understatement there), I can't imagine even being up there on that ladder, never mind not being able to see a thing. I think that it is safe to say that this would completely and totally freak me out! Just another reason to take a moment and appreciate all that our local firemen do for us.
So yesterday, we dropped my husband's car off for service at the dealer. You know oil change, tune up, all that stuff that somehow comes out to $200. So that's never anyone's idea of a ton of fun or what you really want to be doing when you have a Friday off in the summer but whatever, these things have to get done. Well they couldn't wait to call and try to sell him new tires (he politely declined) but do you think that they could call to ask if he wanted them to do an inspection since his sticker had expired a couple of weeks ago? No, this they never call about. And it gets worse, after he picked it up and brought it somewhere else for a sticker because you know it only sat at the dealer for 6 hours, no time to do it then. After he did that, what happens? It fails, that's right fails because the emergency brake didn't have the proper tension or something, surely this is covered by the bumper to bumper warranty that my husband has on the car. Now he'll have to bring it back to the dealer which mind you is a good 20 minutes away from our house. Good thing that they tried to sell him those tires though. Unbelievable, just unbelievable!
Politics aside, I want to discuss the artwork on this car. This person obviously made this themselves and had to use an awful lot of stickers. I took the picture using my phone so I apologize for the size. If it is too small to read, it says, "Obama promised, Obama lied, Obama failed, Obama must go!" After we saw it, my husband turned to me and said, "They must have had a big sale on A's and O's, haven't they ever heard of Rufus Xavier Sarsaparilla?" So I will take that as my cue to once again feature a School House Rock as this week's Saturday morning cartoon.
Without further ado, Rufus Xavier Sarsaparilla: