Monday, May 25, 2015

History and literature

A visit to Lexington and Concord, MA are all about the literature and the history.

First, the history.

We revisited all the significant sites where the Revolutionary War began.  This feels like a good post for Memorial Day.  Those patriots...they were quite magnificent.  American flags waving there mean a little bit more to me.

This is on the town green in Lexington.  The first shots were fired here.  The British got the upper hand and marched on towards Concord where the patriots got the upper hand and pretty much drove them back to Boston under fire.

Here's the bridge where it all happened in Concord. (And here are my history loving kiddos, soaking it in.)

The bridge crosses this lovely river and it is a beautiful and peaceful spot and hard to imagine what a terrible day that must have been.

Going to Lexington and Concord gave me a renewed appreciation for the patriots.  What they did was incredibly bold.  They are the original heroes who deserve the Land of the Free, Because of the Brave sentiment.

We had a picnic lunch in a little meadow outside the Minute Man National Park Visitors Center.  It was a lovely place.  Adam offered Mark all his M&Ms if he could run the remnants of our lunch back to the car in a minute or less.

It's official, Mark is up for anything.


Concord is also a place rich with literary history.  We visited the cemetery where several authors are buried.  It's called Authors Ridge and it's in the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery.

Adam thought the offerings of pinecones, rocks, coins and pens that people had left behind for the authors were kind of cheesy but I liked it.  So did Braeden, I guess.  He wanted to know if I had a pen so he could leave it behind.  I said, "Yes, I have one, but you can't have it because I need it."

I think the authors would understand.

We went to Walden Pond.  Mostly because the week we were gone, Braeden had a report due on...Walden Pond.  (And his grades could use all the bolstering they could get.)

I totally get Thoreau's love of the place.  It was beautiful!

Still no towels, but of course, this happened.

I love this picture because it captured the sparkles on the water.  Are there diamonds in Walden Pond?  It was a sparkly place.

Adam and I sat on the beach and enjoyed the scene.  It was quiet and peaceful and our kids were having a great time.  Then the universe decided to gift us with this awesomeness:

A man had been swimming and then got out and started doing these awkward grapevine type exercises up and down the beach.

Then he lay down on the sand, next to his towel.  Then he started doing sand angels (like snow angels, but in the sand).  Then he doused his body with sand.

Then I surreptitiously took a picture.  Can you blame me?  And you're welcome.

his swimsuit was originally black...he just covered himself with that much sand

It only got better.  He flipped himself over and washed more sand on himself.

Finally he got up and brushed a little sand off.  He put on a denim jacket and got on a bike and rode away.  Braeden had noticed from the water.  He said, "That guy is going in my presentation!"

We also took pictures of the replica house where Thoreau lived.

It was teeny.  Braeden stood in the doorway so he could show the scale to his classmates.

There was also this statue of Thoreau.  Was it to scale?  Because that makes the small house seem a little more accommodating...

It was an altogether lovely day.

If you ask me, Massachusetts is where it's at.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Newport, RI

Back to the travelogue...

We went to Newport to walk along the cliff walk and to take a peek at the mansions.

It was quite a place.

More than your everyday kind of grandeur and opulence.

Also, staring at the crashing waves was sort of mesmerizing.

Emma decided maybe she'd want to go to college there.  She's a fickle one.

We found just the kind of seafood restaurant Braeden had been wanting for lunch.

Clam chowda.  New England style.  Yes, please.

For dinner, we did pizza again.

It was a beautiful day and we got our eyes filled with the beauty of nature and the beauty money can buy (which apparently is quite a lot).

I'm wealthy enough with these three though, and their spectacular father.

I just want to make enough money to never have to think twice about adding guacamole.
Kevin Farzad

Thursday, May 21, 2015

A protracted sigh

First, we got some prom pictures!

They make me happy.

I like seeing all those smiling dressed up kids.  They had a lot of fun together.

In other news, a week from today, Braeden graduates from high school.

I've tried to downplay the whole affair.  As in, congratulations on making it through the easiest part of your life.

It's no big deal.

Just graduating.

I've also been driven a little bit crazy by Braeden lately.  He's in full on senior-itis mode.   Stick a fork in him, he's done.  He is in a race to see which he cares less about, his school work or actually attending classes.

He was at risk for not graduating several weeks ago because of all of his unexcused absences and tardies.  I recommended to my family that they not take his graduation announcements too seriously.  Write that date down in pencil!  In one class, he had 8 unexcused tardies! (To my credit, I let the child live.)  The day I learned that little nugget of good news, we were meeting my parents at a restaurant for dinner.  Braeden joined us late because he was at work.

When he walked in, my mom stood up to hug him and said, "Well, Braeden.  You're a little tardy."

"Wow, Grandma!" he said, "Shots fired!"

He loves a good joke, even if he's the target.

In order to get back in the good graces of PGHS, Braeden has been serving time at "attendance school" at 6:15 in the morning.  I was glad about that.  Good, I thought, I hope it is miserable and he hates it.  Serves the little turkey right.

But he loves it.  (What is the solution for a kid that is too congenial and pleasant to truly punish?) They have to sit in rows with no food and no headphones/earbuds and no phones.  They can read or do homework.  Braeden reads some and draws maps (no, doesn't do homework) and is a happy little clam.


I told Olivia the other day that he was making it easier on me by being such a pain.

I also think it's easier being here rather than at our old school.  I felt a lot more connected at that school.  I knew his friends better, as well as his teachers.  I think I would have felt more sentimental about it all.


The other day, Braeden texted me that he thought his backpack was in the trunk of his car but it wasn't.  Could I bring it to him?  Because it was the first time that's ever happened (and the school is all of five minutes away), I was happy to help.

When I was heading to the van, with his backpack in tow, it struck me that the boy has days of school left.  It took my breath away.  I tried to go back to the downplaying and denial, but it was too late.

Then, this happened.

These are the kinds of adventures I'll miss (although when am I going to be a grown up and get dressed before I go out into the world?).

He can be infuriating and make me want to hit my head against the wall, but I love that kid.

One of the best things that ever happened to me is going to graduate.

He's going to move on into the wide world and have his own adventures.  He can keep trying as hard as he wants to make me so mad that I'll welcome him leaving.

But I don't think it's going to work.

Pass the Kleenex.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Seas the day

Braeden and Emma in the Long Island Sound...fifteen years ago.

Live in the sunshine
Swim in the sea
Drink the wild air

Tuesday we spent visiting some of our old favorites on the Long Island Sound. 

One day, long ago, we watched Santa come into town on a tugboat sitting on this dock in Mystic with our little bald baby boy.

Here's the same dock (and the same baby).

Stonington is a picturesque little place that we love.

Finally, we went to Misquamicut State Beach in Rhode Island.

It is so very pretty there.

It was also sort of breezy and cold.

The thing is, I didn't give birth to anyone that can see a body of water and not want to get into it.  I blame their father.

It always goes something like this.

1) They want to swim.

2) I say no.  It's cold.

3) They really want to swim.  Plus they have swimsuits (because they always do).

4) I point out we have no towels.  The sand will be a mess.  Besides, it's cold.

5) They still want to swim.

6) Adam says he thinks it would be all right.  (of course he does)

7) I give up.

8) The maniacs swim and Adam takes care of all the sand and mess.  He pulls out t shirts as makeshift towels and carefully wipes sand off of feet before they get in the car. 

You have no idea how many times this exact scenario has played out.  It's a good thing we have Adam because I'm not much fun.

So swimming it was.

Emma was still changing while I took some pictures of the boys.  At first they ran in and out of the waves, getting up their courage.

Then their shirts came off and they got serious.

Then they did some sort of ritual to increase their nerve?

I can't explain it.

Seriously.  Can't.  Explain.

 Then their native water loving, sons of Adam nature took over.

Emma joined but is slightly less crazy than her brothers.

Braeden's skin was bright red from the frigid water.

So they swam.  I watched for awhile and then I got too cold and went to the car.  My children were swimming in the North Atlantic and it was too cold on the beach to watch.

I don't know.

The ocean is good for the soul though.  It's good to get your vitamin sea.


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